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Daniel Youngblood is a world-weary oil and gas investment banker who's ready to hit the beach, when he's hired by a Saudi Prince for an OPEC deal where he can net himself $25 million as a swan song. At the same time, he meets and falls in love with Lydia, an exotic European fashion photographer, who he later discovers is really a CIA-trained spy with a shocking history with the Saudi Prince. She convinces Daniel to enlist in what becomes a race for the lovers to stop a Muslim terrorist internet plot to bring down the Saudi royal family and cripple the world's oil capacity, all before they wind up dead.
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A Q&A with David Lender
Question: Trojan Horse opens with an assassination, then skips through time and around the world. How did the story develop?
David Lender: One night I had a long dream about an aging investment banker who meets an exotic, black-haired woman, falls in love with her, then learns she’s a spy. Then it wound through a long backstory on the woman, including that she grew up on an ashram in India. I made some notes. A few months later, I met an Asian beauty with long black hair who had lived on an ashram for 10 years (I later married her). I pulled out my notes--and Sasha, the heroine of Trojan Horse, was born.
Q: The book deals with political and financial issues spanning the globe, yet there is a strong sense of each individual place. Did you intend for the locations in the book to become characters?
DL: When I started Trojan Horse, I was in the midst of my investment banking career, doing big international mergers and acquisitions deals. As I flew around the world, I read high-concept thrillers set in exotic cities like Paris, Geneva, and Nice. The places I visited--their sounds, scents, ambience, and beauty--were burned into my psyche, and therefore made their way into the novel.
Q: You worked on Wall Street for 25 years. What made you decide to start writing?
DL: I always wanted to be a novelist. I made up my mind to do it about 15 years ago, when my investment banking career was in full swing. I just muscled it into my schedule, getting up at 5 a.m., writing for an hour, and then going to my day job, like most aspiring writers. I outlined or edited scenes on planes, in cabs, or in hotel rooms. I write because I love it, but also because I got to the point where I could no longer ignore the compulsion to do so.
Q: You must draw a lot of inspiration from your time on Wall Street. Where else do you find inspiration?
DL: Sometimes it’s someone in my life. Dani North, the protagonist of Vaccine Nation, was inspired by my fiancée, Manette. Elmore Leonard is one of my favorite authors, and reading his stuff frequently gives me ideas. Sometimes it’s just throwing ideas around with friends.
Q: What kind of books do you read, and which authors have influenced you?
DL: Thrillers. What else? Thriller writers who have influenced me include Elmore Leonard, Graham Greene, Frederick Forsyth, John le Carré, John Grisham (although I don’t think he’s ever gotten close to The Firm again), Robert Ludlum, Ken Follett, and Thomas Harris.
Q: Which books do you read over and over again?
DL: I think F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is the great American novel. I read it every year or so. Out of Sight is Elmore Leonard's best, with Get Shorty a close second. Nobody does dialogue or backstory like him. I’ll also never stop returning to Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, Forsythe’s The Day of the Jackal (it may be the best thriller ever written), le Carré’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Smiley’s People, and Graham Greene’s Our Man in Havana.
A Note From David Lender
At the time I started Trojan Horse, I was in the midst of my investment banking career, doing big international mergers and acquisitions deals. When I wasn’t reviewing pitches and deal memos on airplanes, I was reading high concept thrillers set in exotic cities like Paris, Geneva and New York, with intricate plots that usually involved the CIA, MI5, terrorists and powerful business executives.
One night I had a long dream about an aging investment banker who meets an exotic, black-haired woman who he falls in love with and then learns she’s a spy. The dream then wound through a long backstory on the woman, including that she grew up in an ashram in India. I made some notes. A few months later I met an exotic, Asian beauty with long, black hair, who had lived in an ashram for ten years. It seemed too much of a coincidence to ignore, so as I was falling in love with her (I later married her), I pulled out my notes and Sasha, the heroine of Trojan Horse, was born. I kept working and the outline for Trojan Horse took shape.
I hope you enjoy Trojan Horse.
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Book Description Brindle Publishing, 2011. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0615448755