Set in the Republic of Georgia in Central Asia, The Mingrelian is the code name for a spy who is passing secrets about the Iranian nuclear weapons program to the United States. Who is “The Mingrelian” and why is he risking his life and the lives of his family? Will the Iranians catch him before he reveals all their secrets? Is nuclear war imminent?
This is the set up for my latest novel, The Mingrelian but success depends on getting the background right. Mingrelia(also called Samegrelo) was a principality on the coast of the Black Sea in western Georgia, last ruled by Prince Niko Dadiani in the middle 19th Century before all of Georgia was enveloped into Czarist Russia. Mingrelians are an integral part of Georgian society and culture, but they have a dialect of their own and many Georgians suspect them as complicit in all manner of conspiracies.
I visited Georgia in 1998 on a military exchange trip and have been working elements of this plot since then. Located at the edge of Asia, Georgia has been occupied and influenced by the Mongols, Turks, Persians, Greeks, Romans, and Russians. Georgians were among the first Christians, and the Georgian Orthodox Church is a part of the Eastern Orthodox Catholic Church. Persia (Iran) has been one of Georgia’s primary trading partners for a thousand years, but lately that partnership has expanded many fold as Iran uses Georgia as a conduit to the rest of the world for product and investment. Could there be some illegal transactions in the Georgia/Iran partnership? You know I love to write about money laundering and bank fraud.
Becky and I leave next week for Tbilisi, Georgia. We will tour, talk to the locals, eat, drink and try to capture the essence of the place. Boyd Chailland, my series character for thriller novels will return in this story, and his romantic interest in Georgia will be the deepest and most complete of his relationships. I need to capture Georgian courtship and marriage customs and attitudes (is that a hint?). Then we’re off to Zugdidi in western Georgia, the capital of the Principality of Mingrelia and location of the Dadiani Palace. We’ll finish up at Batumi, where the Western Export Pipeline delivers Caspian Sea crude oil to tankers in the Black Sea.
Watch my Facebook page for pictures.