Rich Fordham, world-renowned journalist and television personality, receives an email from an informant with damaging videos of prominent Saudi Arabian dignitaries—including the king—as part of an elaborate attempt to derail the monarchy.
Rich persuades the Saudi king into granting him an exclusive interview to discuss oil prices and foreign policy—but not everyone wants him there. Almost immediately after Rich, his camera man, and their security team arrive in Riyadh, jihadists ambush their convoy. Those who survive are forced to decide between helping those who are captured and saving themselves, while still trying to overthrow the corrupt Saudi government.
In Kingdom of Rage, I explore the hypothetical scenario of sending in war correspondent (used to be a reporter) Rich Fordham into Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to interview the oil minister to get his take on why oil prices are so high and what their long-term outlook is on the supply. Heavily armed security specialists (think Blackwater) serve as their security and transportation. During the drive to the meeting, their convoy is ambushed by jihadists loyal to Osama Bin Laden and is when all hell breaks loose.
Title-wise, I went through dozens but I wanted a name based on the planned "Day of Rage" that took place in Saudi Arabia and was arranged though Facebook. The protests eventually fizzled after the Saudi government sent the military in with tanks. I would have used the name in quotations but several other books have variations of the name. My first choice was The Kingdom, but Clive Cussler beat me to it (bastard!). I wanted a name where readers instantly knew what the book's genre was just by reading the title. Local Saudis refer to the area as "the kingdom".
To put the title in context, the book is set in March 2011 during the height of the Arab Spring. Kingdom takes scenes from places like Tunisia and Egypt. The full-length novel is inspired by actual people and events.
A short Q & A about KoR:
Q: Why did you choose Riyadh as a setting for your story?
A: 15 of the 19 9/11 hi-jackers were from Saudi Arabia. This number is worked into the story several times. There are other similarities that the reader will get to discover.
Of all the developed countries, Saudi Arabia comes in dead last for women's rights. They need a fire lit under their a** if they want to be respected as a global force.
Our countries dependence on foreign oil. Gas is expected to rise above $4, maybe even 5 dollars a gallon by the end of the Summer. Why? Politics, speculation, and a crapload of greedy bastards.
Q: How do you set apart Kingdom from other political thrillers?
A: Often times when an author wants to tell a story about chaos, the protagonist has to be some CIA spy, a contract killer, or a rogue soldier. Guns, blood, and lots of bullets are used to move the story along. My protagonist, Rich Fordham, is a war correspondent who uses the power of his words, wit, and the media to win battles. This means smart writing, not just someone getting killed every other page. My stories are gritty, plausible, and human.