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Full Name: Luke Carlton
Codename: Victor
Nationality: British
Organization: MI6
Occupation Agent

Creator: Frank Gardner
Time Span: 2016 - 2021


Luke Carlton is an agent with MI6.

More technically, he is, when we first meet him, an "ex-Special Boat Service commando, now under short-term contract to the SIS". That is how he is described in the first recorded adventure but that 'short term' gets changed over time such that in the third adventure, he is described as "a fully fledged case officer in the Secret Intelligence Service".

Carlton is a veteran of "twelve years in the Royal Marines, the last four spent with Special Forces in the SBS". When he opted to leave the service and accept an offer from the clandestine service, he was placed under the control of a handler named Angela Scott, a short, petite "woman of few words". The two work well together; she reluctantly lives with his tendency to do things his way and he admits to himself that "he could do a lot worse than" her.

We are told that he is one of the few field operatives who has extensive experience with close quarter combat and the use of firearms so it stands to reason that when a mission comes up that is likely to result in needing those skills, he is the man to call. Though he might indicate otherwise to his live-in girlfriend, getting those calls is something he looks forward to.

From the viewpoint of that girlfriend, Elise, with whom he has been for nearly a year, "He had the loose, easy movements of someone capable of immense speed and power. His face was angular, lightly tanned, beneath short, sandy hair. Grey eyes. Was he a model? God, she hoped not - she wasn't going to make that mistake again. No, the broken nose and weathered look told her otherwise. This was not a man who spent a lot of time in front of the mirror. There was something paradoxical about him: a blend of danger, adventure ... and security. She felt safe in his presence."

The first adventure we follow Carlton on takes him to Columbia, a country he had lived in as a child with his parents up until their deaths in a car accident. His understanding of that land and his native control of the language help him immensely there. Not quite so with the next couple of missions which will have him a hot, largely arid Iran and a cold, frozen Arctic.


Number of Books:3
First Appearance:2016
Last Appearance:2021

1 Crisis Crisis
Written by Frank Gardner
Copyright: 2016

"Sent into the steaming Colombian jungle to investigate the murder of a British intelligence officer, Luke finds himself caught up in the coils of a plot that has terrifying international dimensions. Hunted down, captured, tortured and on the run from one of South America's most powerful and ruthless drugs cartels and its psychotic leader thirsting for revenge, Luke is in a life-or-death race against time to prevent a disaster on a truly terrifying scale: London is the target, the weapon is diabolical and the means of delivery is ingenious."
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2 Ultimatum Ultimatum
Written by Frank Gardner
Copyright: 2018

Scientists in Iran are working hard in a facility built in a series of caves to give that country nuclear weapon abilities. Luke Carlton is sent to that area to extract a person with inside intel on the place and the successes so far. That is dangerous enough but when a visiting British government minister is kidnapped, things get really complicated since that is just the opening to a major catastrophy.

3 Outbreak Outbreak
Written by Frank Gardner
Copyright: 2021

Three British scientists at the Arctic Research Station come upon a cabin at first thought deserted but then found to hold a dying man, his body "disfigured by livid pustules" and suffering from convulsions. Soon it is concluded that Russia has been working on a new generation of bioweapons. Luke Carlton is sent by MI6 to learn the truth but after he endures arrest and imprisonment, he "discovers that they've been looking in the wrong place all along".


It says something about me as a reader when at the beginning of a series I read the main character has a significant other and I do a quick scan of later books to see if that other has been killed off as a plot device. I do this because I have grown to despise series which use the sacrifice of immediate family to invoke pathos and provide motivation. Yes, it will do both but it is so trite ... [getting off soap box now].

Luckily for the fictional Elise in this series, she is very much alive, albeit bit battered, in the last (so far - the third) book. No guarantees, however. [What does it say about me that you can rough 'em a bit but ...]

Lots and lots of good action in this series, wonderfully described by the author. I liked Luke Carlton and I enjoyed the parts with his beau, Elise, and with his boss, Angela.

I hope there will be more books to come and I hope that the support character continue to survive.


My Grade: A-


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