In the summer of 2012, I was in the early stages of putting together a detailed outline for Trophy Target. I’d identified the main theme of the thriller (see Part I: Prince Harry deploys to Afghanistan) and settled on the general idea that Prince Michael would be kidnapped while in the services of the French Foreign Legion (see Part II: Beau Geste). I still needed to flush out the details of the kidnapping a bit though.
|Image via Wikipedia|
I encourage you to read Mr. Pappalardo’s entire article, but in summary, he reported on a little known conflict involving the French Foreign Legion in the secluded Amazonian jungle of French Guiana. They are waging a growing war against increasingly dangerous black market gold miners who are destroying the pristine environment and looting the country of a valuable resource that is ultimately smuggled out of the country. At the time the article was written, two FFL soldiers were recently killed in the course of a raid launched by the FFL on an illegal mining camp.
This was a conflict I had never heard of before and given it’s uniqueness and exotic location, provided a great setting for Prince Michael’s deployment with the French Foreign Legion. The escalation in violence and intimidation by the miners in real life towards the FFL fit with my intention to have Prince Michael kidnapped. Also, having Prince Michael initially kidnapped by persons unaware of his status as a royal, offered an extra layer of intrigue (or so I hope) to the plot.
While Mr. Pappalardo’s article served as the primary inspiration for this story line in Trophy Target, other source materials were used to get some additional background information on the French Foreign Legion, French Guiana and the illegal gold mining trade in South America.