The author introduced Afghanistan veteran Jim Chapel in the 2013 novel, Chimera.
Wellington applied the Page 69 Test to his new book, The Hydra Protocol, and reported the following:
Page 69 of The Hydra Protocol is the start of a new chapter so it’s already shorter than other pages. It details the main character, Jim Chapel—a one-armed special forces vet—making his way through security at the Pentagon. He meets his boss, the jovial Rupert Hollingshead, who inquires about his health.Learn more about the book and author at David Wellington's website.
That’s it. This is a book full of action—it starts with a knife fight on an island near Vladivostok, it includes a scene where the protagonists are attacked by a pack of giant desert monitor lizards. There’s sex and shootouts and aerial dogfights and a supercomputer that could blow up the world. It’s set across half a dozen countries and lots and lots of time zones.
So it’s a pretty exciting book. But all of that is locked up, undercover, strictly need-to-know on page 69.
And I’m okay with that being representative of the book. Because this is, after all, a spy novel. The people in this book keep secrets for a living and they do it very, very well (sometimes too well, but—no spoilers).
It goes deeper than that, actually. Chapel is based off of a number of real people, soldiers, sailors and airmen I spoke and corresponded with, people who had just come home from Afghanistan and Iraq. Sometimes people who were still there. I was so grateful for their service and sacrifice that I wanted to write about a character like them. So I wanted Jim Chapel to be like them. And the thing I saw more than anything else, the one quality that stood out about our troops, was their quiet dignity. They had all grown up post-Vietnam. They knew better than to expect ticker tape parades when they got home. The biggest reward they expected was the GI bill, so they could get an education. They were given an impossible job to do and when it was done they just wanted to go home to their families and some peace and quiet.
That’s Jim Chapel all over. He saved the world in his first book, Chimera. Now he’s going to do it again. In between, all he really wants is a little peace and quiet. Of course, a man like that is never going to get it for very long…
The Page 69 Test: Chimera.