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On The Table Read Magazine, “the best book magazine in the UK“, in dystopian thriller Octogen by Geoff Cook, a new world order has prevailed and political deputy, Jack Tirrand, is confronted by the terrifying consequences of project codename – OCTOGEN.

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Set thirty-five years after the global attacks of eleven/eleven, Octogen by Geoff Cook sees fossil fuel supply reduced to a trickle and curtailed economic activity for a century. As civilisation tottered on the brink of disaster, out of the chaos and confusion, an international coalition emerged; a new, collective authority known as INCOL.

Hard lessons have to be learned, as personal liberties are restricted and national governance ceded to the new authority.

For Deputy Jack Tirrand, a rising star in the London Assembly, the future of his family appears secure. But appearances are deceptive.

As Jack’s wife. Rebecca and twin daughters, Harriet and Alison, wrestle with personal crises, he finds himself forced to confront his demons from the past and present alike. His life is under threat and time is running out for him to avert the terrifying consequences of the project – codename – OCTOGEN.

Excerpt Of Octogen

November 2030

Mary Jo Hammond drew long and hard on the cigarette wedged between her chapped lips.

As she looked out from the porch of their single-storey wood cabin, the tall leaves of the filler tobacco grown from Cuban seed swayed gently back and forth in the half-light as night approached. In happier days, before Bobby took ill, they had chosen the six-acre field for cultivation with just one aim in mind. When the plants were fully grown, they would hide the federal correction centre on Highway 72 from view. Out of sight, out of mind.

The signs on the entry roads into Three Rivers in Live Oak County described the township as the oil capital of Texas. It was a noble boast. The guidebooks made only a passing reference to the penitentiary where many of the most dangerous redneck reactionaries, renegade murderers, and rapists in the Union were incarcerated.

On a still night, if she strained hard, Mary Jo could just make out the sound of the oil rigs humming some five miles away, alongside the refinery. She had been born and bred in Three Rivers and was mighty proud of her birthright.

The rasping, mucus-filled cough started up as she exhaled, forcing her to spit a ball of yellow phlegm onto the parched earth. It was ironic, she thought. That very plant, growing so high and strong just a stone’s throw away, would consign her husband’s body to the ground in a week or two and, most likely, see her lying in the soil next to him within the year. The thought caused her to laugh out loud, provoking another bout of coughing and spitting.

‘You see this, Mother?’ Bobby had called her ‘Mother’ ever since their only child was born some thirty-odd years ago. Millie survived until she was two when the consumption had taken her, but Bobby just went on calling Mary Jo ‘Mother’ until this very day.

‘What is it, Bobby?’

Her husband was propped up on a make-do sofa bed in the lounge, his watery gaze fixed on the television. The sound was turned down because the noise hurt his ears. Nothing but skin and bones, cancer racked the body of this former fifteen-stone hard man and federal prison guard. Bones poked through the grey/blue skin of his skeletal frame. Pain and suffering were all he knew. Once, he inflicted these two ills: now, he had to endure them.

The image on the screen was like a scene from a science fiction movie. The sky above some desert location was full of drones, small, black-painted craft swarming incessantly like bees about a larger, torpedo-shaped drone with mechanical arms embracing a package the size of a small suitcase. From time to time, a smaller drone would explode into flames and fall to earth, causing the rest to realign to protect their queen.

An industrial complex came into view on the horizon. Within minutes, the drones were hovering over a series of circular metal towers, losing height and numbers as mid-air explosions sent many crashing to the ground. The larger unit came to a halt, the sound of its motor whirring as it hovered in position. The mechanical arms opened, and the package fell to the ground.

Geoff Cook on The Table Read Magazine
Geoff Cook

Geoff Cook

Geoff Cook, born and educated in London, began his career as an accountant and spent a significant portion of his working life abroad, primarily in Brazil, Spain, and Portugal. This exposure to diverse industrial and commercial environments, coupled with a vivid imagination, fueled his lifelong passion for writing.

Around the year 2000, Cook dedicated himself to writing seriously. His first foray into the literary world included the novel Pieces for the Wicked and two three-act plays, Painful Truths and The Last Chapter.

While not confined to a single genre, Cook’s novels since 2000 primarily fall under the suspense and thriller categories. The Sator Square, inspired by a Latin palindrome, features a terrorist plot targeting a member of the Royal Family. Published by NGP in both hardback and paperback, it was followed by Deaf Wish. This tale of adultery, deceit, and murder unfolds across Wales, Portugal, and Spain’s Costa de la Luz.

Cook considers The Last Rights his most demanding work yet. The story centers on a Holocaust survivor who witnesses a historic heist. The intricate plot, woven around the realities of 1945 Germany and the Nazi escape route to South America, necessitated extensive research. The author expresses his gratitude to the historians who aided him in crafting this novel.

Perhaps as a counterpoint, Cook’s subsequent release, Irreconcilable Differences, is a black comedy that explores deadly family rivalries.

As of this writing, Cook’s latest novel, Octogen, is nearing publication. Set in a dystopian 2065, it follows a family grappling with the horrifying consequences of a project codenamed Octogen.

Cook splits his time between working in Eastbourne and his residence in the Algarve with his wife, Fatima. Together, they have four sons and six grandchildren.

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