Military, banks, books: author looks back in thriller

Wed Nov 4, 2009 12:47am EST
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By Miral Fahmy

SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - British author Mark Powell's life reads like a novel, so perhaps it's no surprise the former special forces military officer turned international banker found his true calling in writing books.

Singapore-based Powell started out in the British army as a teenage soldier in 1979. He joined the SAS special forces, and for nine years conducted operations, many of them covert, in some of the world's worst war and conflict zones.

He did consultancy work for security companies for a while, but, keen for a career change, followed his father into banking, working as a foreign exchange trader for American Express, ING Barings, Credit Suisse among others, in the United States, Europe and Asia.

Along the way, he also got married, divorced, and has a 9-year-old daughter.

Powell's debut novel, "Quantum Breach," is, of course, a thriller set in Asia and the Middle East, with the protagonist Mark McCabe the author's alter ego. A sequel, "The Rain Angel" for which Powell plans to travel to Somalia and which is based on international piracy, is in the works.

Powell, whose novel has been praised by popular and prolific British author Jeffery Archer, spoke to Reuters recently about how, sometimes, the pen is mightier than the military.

Q: So, how much of this book is real and how much is your imagination?

A: "I'd say this book is "fact-ion," fiction which draws on a foundation of truth. About 40 percent of the events in the book I have personally experienced, the rest were things that happened to people I know. I don't want to be seen as just another spook who's written a book though! I draw upon my corporate career as a basis and then draw the past back in."   Continued...