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David R. Stokes

David R. Stokes

Best-selling author, historian, screenwriter, broadcaster, and ordained minister.

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The Churchill Plot

January 1965. When Winston Churchill dies in London, President Lyndon Johnson learns of a possible terrorist plot involving Churchill's funeral. Johnson decides to skip the trip to London and his big chance to interact with 100 world leaders. Instead, he sends a legendary, but erratic spy on a life or death mission to learn the truth and stop the unthinkable.

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Mystery historical/mystery/thriller
Fairfax, Virginia
80,000 words
100% complete
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Synopsis

As 90-year-old Winston Churchill barely clings to life in January 1965, Great Britain and the world prepare for what will no doubt be the most significant funeral of the century. The long-planned grand farewell for the great man (code name: Operation Hope Not) will include the presence of a “who’s who” list of world leaders, all vying for the attention of the 350 million people who will watch it all via the relatively TelStar satellite technology.

But one world leader has decided not to go to London for the funeral of Sir Winston.

Why would the President of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, a consummate and ego-driven politician, who has just been inaugurated for his own term, following a landslide election victory the previous November, choose to stay home instead of taking the chance to make his presence known as the leader of the free world?

And why would the president not send his new vice president, Hubert Humphrey, to the funeral?

And why would the Secretaries of Defense and State eventually travel to London as part of the “official” US delegation, only to avoid the actual service at historic St. Paul’s Church?

Why indeed.

With these very true historical facts as a backdrop, author David R. Stokes takes us through the “looking glass” into a murky world of shadows, mystery, and intrigue.

America and the world had not yet fully recovered from the assassination of Johnson’s presidential predecessor, John F. Kennedy. Yet, in a way that seems to connect back to that awful moment in November 1963, there are rumors of another conspiracy, one involving some kind of terrorist attack connected to Churchill’s funeral, at the moment more when than 100 world leaders will be gathered together in one confined place.

President Johnson reaches out to some of his contacts in the intelligence world—all “off the record,” of course. These men—some whose names will eventually live in infamy—have one mission: to prevent a catastrophe that could change the course of human history. Along the way, the American operatives uncover a conspiracy more far-reaching than they could have ever imagined.

The cast of characters in THE CHURCHILL PLOT includes some familiar names from history including Lyndon Johnson, Bill Moyers, Allen Dulles, Clementine Churchill, James Jesus Angleton, Leonid Brezhnev, E. Howard Hunt, Walter Thompson, Curtis LeMay, Robert Kennedy, Frank Sturgis, Queen Elizabeth II, Harold Wilson, Edward Landsdale, Yuri Andropov, Edmund Murray, Roger Hollis, Kim Philby, and Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Then there are other fascinating characters invented by the author (some based on real people) who move the compelling story along. People like Harvey King, an unkempt nearly-washed up CIA man who drinks too much and tends to shoot first and ask questions later. Tiernan Brogan, an Irish operative, is also on the case keeping both of his eyes on Kaitlyn Dorcey, a fiery redhead beauty. Is she on the right side of history? Or is she just using Brogan? Or—maybe he’s using her?

Mike and Molly Wheelan, well, they’ve lived a lie for decades, hiding in plain site and preparing for one great moment. Then there’s Harry Higgins, all he wants to do is to be more famous than Gavrilo Princip, the Serbian man who triggered World War One via political assassination more than fifty years earlier.

At the center of the story is Winston Churchill himself. His accomplishments. His mistakes. His admirers. His enemies—even at the hour of his death.

The book is fiction, but it’s rich in precise historical detail. You may wonder what's real and what's made up. You may also find yourself wanting to grab your smart phone to check a detail on Google.

Outline

Prologue: January 1965

Chapters:

1. Nineteen Years Earlier

2. The White House, January 16, 1965

3. Operation Hope Not

4. November 1964

5. "Real words for real people"

6. "they want to change the world"

7. "I'll do my best, Mr. President."

8. "Siberia near the Mediterranean"

9. "Our enemies have always made the same mistake."

10. KOBA

11. "I'm Kaitlyn Dorcey."

12. "...gathered unto his fathers."

13. "...that bouncy feeling."

14. Churchill and Gladstone

15. "We need to get to Birmingham!"

16. Newman Brothers

17. "And it was all a lie."

18. "We've been sent by the President."

19. "He was a good House of Commons man."

20. "We've been burned, sport."

21. "The director will be there."

22. "All very hush-hush"

23. "There's only one way."

24. "You trust this Hunt fellow?"

25. "It's a manhunt now, Brogan."

26. "...eliminate your boss."

27. "...put 'em on ice."

28. "Are you rethinking your decision?"

29. "Was he smoking that big cigar?"

30. "Not to mention, dangerous..."

31. "...an espionage classic."

32. "It will rock the world!"

33. "...an old friend of yours..."

34. "Our enemies are sound asleep."

35. "All very cloak and dagger."

36. "Bring the prisoner to me."

37. "Then he flashed that famous smile."

38. "Here's what we're going to do."

39. "I have some friends on the way."

40. "About sixty-five steps per minute."

41. "No loose ends here."

42. "Oh death, where is thy sting?"

43. "Sir Winston, my old friend..."

44. "My Irish angel."

45. "In Grateful Remembrance"

Audience

Those who enjoy the "what if?" aspects of history and a good conspiracy story. For example, in "THE DAY OF THE JACKAL", Frederick Forsythe starts with the very real account of a failed assassination attempt on French President Charles DeGaulle and weaves a fictional story that is both intriguing and suspenseful.  

I began with a very real story--the fact that President Lyndon Johnson did not attend Churchill's funeral. Then I create a conspiratorial scenario--a superstructure of mystery on a foundation of fact.

Author

Though creating compelling copy has always been a part of his work as a minister and broadcaster, it wasn’t until David R. Stokes moved into his fifties that he got serious about writing books. Since then, he has written several highly regarded works of fiction and nonfiction, as well as three screenplays.

His first book, "THE SHOOTING SALVATIONIST: J. Frank Norris and the Murder Trial that Captivated America" (Steerforth/Penguin/Random House, 2011), a narrative non-fiction thriller set in the 1920s, quickly became a national true crime best-seller. BOOKLIST, in a starred review, said: “The book is engagingly written, in an immediate, you-are-there style, and the story is as compelling and surprising as any Grisham thriller. Top of the line.” 

His next book was an espionage novel. "CAMELOT’S COUSIN: The Spy Who Betrayed Kennedy" now has more than 300 enthusiastic Amazon customer reviews. David has also written a screenplay adaptation, and the story has been optioned in Hollywood. David has partnered with LITTLE STUDIO FILMS in Hollywood for several potential screen projects based on his books.

Two of his books are “based on a true story” novels. "JACK & DICK: When Kennedy Met Nixon" describes the very first Kennedy-Nixon debate which took place in 1947, thirteen years before the two men ran against each other for the presidency in 1960. David brings this long-overlooked story to life and recreates a fascinating conversation between the two future presidents that took place on an over-night train ride back to Washington, DC. 

"JAKE & CLARA: Scandal, Politics, Hollywood, and Murder" is a dramatized, but factual account of a fascinating story that captivated American in 1921. A wealthy oil man who bankrolled much of Warren Harding’s successful run for the White House, was shot and killed by his mistress before Harding could reward him with high office.

David’s flair for historical detail and accuracy evident in both his nonfiction and fiction reflects his life long passion for stories from the past. Most of the books in his personal library of more than 7,000 volumes deal with international, political, and military history.

David has hosted his own national XM satellite radio talk show and is a regular guest-host for talk shows in across the country. Over the years he has interviewed hundreds of political leaders, authors, media personalities, historians, and business leaders. In addition, he has done voice over work, including projects for a Smithsonian affiliate and a presidential library.

An ordained minister for nearly 40 years, David has served as Senior Pastor of Expectation Church in Fairfax, Virginia since 1998. He has been married to his wife Karen for more than 40 years, and they have three wonderful daughters and seven incredible grandchildren.

Promotion

The author is an experienced marketer. He has appeared on CSpan Book TV, and has been interviewed on radio stations around the country. He is a gifted and engaging communicator. He also has a strong social media presence. His FACEBOOK author page has more than 2,000 followers. 

Competition

THE CHURCHILL PLOT has been inspired by a number of thrillers set against the backdrop of historical events. For example:

◆ “The Day of the Jackal,” by Frederick Forsythe

◆ “Topaz,” by Leon Uris

◆ “Spandau Phoenix,” by Greg Iles

◆ “Kennedy 1939,” by Francine Matthews

◆ “Getting It Right,” by William F. Buckley

◆ “Winston’s War: A Novel of Conspiracy,” by Michael Dobbs

◆ “Eye of the Needle,” by Ken Follet

◆ “The Eagle Has Landed,” by Jack Higgins


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