Why does 3 WISE MEN begin in Antibes? Why not start somewhere else, like the morning that Jak left to make his presentation? This would keep the plot linear, like most thrillers.
As starting points tumbled through my mind it seemed to me that Antibes was ideal for one main reason – it was the crisis moment in Jak’s journey; the point where his one final hope became hopeless, the point where he begins to feel very vulnerable. Jak found something in Antibes that got his hopes up, and then he lost something very important to him.
So, Antibes – with its beauty and literary history – is a pivotal marker in 3 WISE MEN. Antibes does, if you like, begin to put the wire of suspense under tension – ready to be released and continue to vibrate through the rest of the novel. Part of this tension is sprung when Jak finds out that Antibes was once the home for a famous spy – two actually! There is also a large arrow striking the ground in Antibes. Perhaps it is pointing to the start after all? The funny thing is, Jak spends about as much time in Antibes as my wife and I did while doing the research for 3 WISE MEN.
[Novel Extract: “Yes. Many rich and famous people escaped to Antibes,” she continued. “Winston Churchill painted part of the old town, and Picasso and Matisse loved it there too. Did you know that the English writer Graham Greene lived quite close to the train station? His simple apartment was full of books and had a commanding view over the yacht harbor. You may have passed it this afternoon?” Before he could reply, Sasha lowered her voice as if she was sharing a secret. “Some say he was also a spy.”
“I have heard of him, but I had no idea that he was a spy,” Jak replied. An awkward silence followed the word ‘spy’ so he looked away. ]