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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?
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, Robert Kennedy, Frank Sturgis, Queen Elizabeth II, Harold Wilson, 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.
Go for it.