Ash Mistry and The Savage Fortress

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Sarwat Chaddas Blog

Thrills, Spills and Exotic Locations

This could be another entry in 'How I became a writer'. What is it that you love? That's what you should write about. Simple, really. So, I love Bond movies, always have, always will. There are some I love less that others, but they're Bond and that's all that matters. So, when writing, what ingredients do I take from Bond and giving them a shake (not stir) to make them my own?

1. Action. Well, d'uh. Lots of it and always, ALWAYS in your face.

2. Hero, double d'uh. There is only one Bond so there was no point in trying to do anything similar, so I went almost the complete opposite. Ash certainly isn't sauve, sophisticated or highly trained. Part of the fun was taking a weak, cowardly geek and turning him into a hero. 

3. Exotic locations. Bond is a fantasy, so I wanted my setting to feel like a fantasy. Hence India. It's strange, awesomely exotic and epic on every level. Everything is much more, the riches richer, the poverty more extreme, the key word being intense. You do not have Bond havinmg a fight in your local B&Q. The stakes are high and teh location should refelct that.

4. Bad guy. Bond and Ash are defined by their bad guys. Lord Savage is clearly a Bond villain. He has weird henchmen, he's fabulously rich and cultured and plans to destroy the world. These are all Bond villain credentials. If you've read the book you're recall a scene where Ash and Savage have breakfast. Now it's not some snack in the morning room. It's ontop of a massive fortress, the furniture is iron, the cups and teapots the finest china and Savage has a massive bodyguard, Mayar, at his shoulder. The talk is civilized, but filled with danger and brutality. The only thing missing is a laser beam threatening to slice our hero in half.

5. Taking the hero to the edge. If there are weak Bonds, the problem usually lies with the villain. The poster above is from the second Bond movie and, to many, still the best. Bond steals a typewriter. When all is said and done, that is the plot. But it has Klebb, the introduction of SPECTRE and the guy with the white cat and. best of all, Red Grant, the perfect assassin and the evil doppleganger of Bond. He is to Bond what Moriarty is to Holmes. Everything our hero is, but evil. I still believe no other villain has ever come close to taking Bond out. Grant remains, in my eyes, the BIGGEST of the Big Bond Bads. If you don't believe me check out the fight on the train between Bond and Grant. It'll be on YouTube. And all because he ordered the wrong wine. So, when I want to make my hero sweat, he sweats blood. Anything else just isn't worth writing about.

This all adds up to larger than life adventures. I know they're toatlly unrealistic, but hey, we've been watching Bond for the last 50 years so there must be something about the guy that appeals, right? I recently got kicked out of a school because I wasn't willing to give a lesson about 'realism'. I don't know. I'm sure I read a realistic book once, something about a kid having problem with his homework or something, but, frankly, I have that in my life already, I don't need to read about it too. Nope. Give me mad bad guys, psycho henchmen, palaces and secret underground lairs and heroes who just do it better than everyone else. They bleed, they suffer, they sacrifice but they never, ever give up. That's lesson enough.


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