mangum_bert_bk_favor mangum_bert_bk_evewar mangum_bert_bk_cure mangum_bert_bk_marque
Full Name: Bert Mangum
Series Name: An Agency Thriller
Nationality: Unknown
Organization: The Agency
Occupation Agent

Creator: Richard F. Weyand
Time Span: 2022 - 2023


Bert Mangum is an agent with the AIA.

That is the Association Intelligence Agency. It does not exist. Just ask the Association of Planets (AoP), the governmental federation a whole lot of planets belong to, The AIA does not exist because its existence is "a myth. There's no such outfit. The AoP says there isn't anyway". Looking into any official documents and you will find no proof whatsoever of the AIA. "There were stories. There were conspiracy theories. But they were all nonsense. There was no such thing as the AIA."

"Meanwhile, at the AIA, they were blithely unaware they didn't exist." If you head to Ashur, the capital city of the planet Mardouk, you can find the AoP's Agency for Interstellar Trade which most who work there call 'the Agency'. You can go it, if you want, take the tour of the very boring museum the facility has and visit the gift shop. You just cannot go above, or below, the ground floor. But then, why would you want to?

By the way, the AoP is not the only collection of star systems governments. There is the Gaston Alliance for one and the Star Nation of Abelon for another and apparently others within reach, not to mention a good number of independent planets. There are a lot of stars in the galaxy and most of them have planets.

Mangum has been an operative with the AIA for a good number of years by the time we meet him and he has completed successfully an impressive number of missions to a large number of planets both inside the AoP and outside. This tall, slender, very good looking man is highly competent and not at all nervous about putting his life on the line because he knows he is pretty darn good at his job and is likely to come out a scrape in one piece. The same is not likely to be said about those he fights.

Mangum has a partner in his efforts though this bosses do not know about it. No one knows, really, except Mangum; not only that he has a sidekick of sorts or that such a creature as Sam exists at all. Sam is an alien with some pretty unusual characteristics. And by alien I am not talking about a foreigner, documented or otherwise. Sam is another whole species of life from a distant planet: "the only intelligent alien life humans had yet discovered. And they were only discovered by Mangum when he was shipwrecked - marooned, actually - on Sam's planet. But the aliens didn't want their existence generally known by humans, and Mangum had agreed to keep their secret, even from his employer."

"The creatures didn't know what to make of the human, but one of them had decided to tag along when Mangum was finally picked up. He said it sounded interesting." That one was named by Mangum (or himself, who knows) as 'Sam' and "Since that time - years ago, now - Sam had traveled with him, sometimes helping out, but mostly observing humans and acting as a sounding board for Mangum."

I would describe Sam, the oh-so-definitely-not-human, but .. no, you should read it yourself.

And I should mention that while Sam the alien is not known to anyone other than Mangum, Sam the golden doodle pet of Mangum who goes wherever Sam goes, is. Morphing into different shapes is one of Sam's amorphous abilities and when he chooses to look like a dog, people do not see (and ask questions about) the antennae with the eyes at the end atop his probable head. Picking that disguise was interesting, though, because a golden doodle had "All the intelligence of a poodle with the temperament of a golden retriever. Which was good, because poodles had bad attitudes and golden retrievers were dumb as a bag of hammers".


Number of Books:4
First Appearance:2022
Last Appearance:2023

1 Eve Of War Eve Of War
Written by Richard F. Weyand
Copyright: 2022

The once-friendly Republic of Villacqua and Kingdom of Wilbourne are stumbling toward war. But why? The Agency sends their top operative, Bert Mangum, to head off the war. His mission: Find out who's causing it and stop them. Permanently. Mangum and his alien sidekick Sam ally with Gloria Dent, of Gaston's Bureau of Intelligence and Espionage, to find and stop the war instigator. But can even they succeed against their wily adversary?
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2 The Favor The Favor
Written by Richard F. Weyand
Copyright: 2022

"Detective Elina Stavros of the Crossroads P.D. asks Bert Mangum to do her a favor. Could he help her figure out how the dangerous and illegal drug RDT is getting onto the station? But the more they dig, the more they find, until they're facing a cluster-wide drug manufacturing and smuggling operation. Worse, if they shut it down, Crossroads will go under and the economy of the cluster will go with it."
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3 The Cure The Cure
Written by Richard F. Weyand
Copyright: 2023

"Chairman Febo of the Association of Planets wants the cure for RDT addiction. There's only one problem. It's thirty-one thousand light-years away, in the Kingdon of Vauxhall. It is also secret and expensive, reserved to the nobility and the elites.
The cluster nations mount an expedition to find the cure and bring it back to the cluster. Anticipating a difficult mission, they send their best: Bert Mangum, Elina Stavros, Chuck Pendergast, and Gloria Dent.
But can even these four operatives, with the help of the aliens Sam and Jules, steal the cure right out from under the noses of the core-world elites?"
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4 Marque Marque
Written by Richard F. Weyand
Copyright: 2023

"Prince Michael, a.k.a. Lt. Cmdr. Michael Vauxhall, died when Bert Mangum and his crew on Silverheel had to fight their way out of the Earth system. Now King Albert wants revenge. He assigns investigators to find out who killed his son, and where they are.
Bert Mangum, Elina Stavros, Chuck Pendergast, Gloria Dent, and Davian Varley are in the king's sights now, and he wants them dead.
Will they convince the king to leave them alone? Or will the king's vendetta succeed and kill them all?"
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This series is a hoot and then some. I enjoyed the daylights out of the characters and their interchanges and when I finished the first two books, I was pleased as punch to see that a third was just coming out. [Edit: now we are blessed with a 4th which I have on my teetering TBR pile.]

IMHO this is a very fully set of adventures that stays out of the range of silly but still has my mouth set in a grin. Mangum is a really fun character to follow and Sam is .. well, Sam and that is more than enough. And the other members of the cast, like Elina and Chuck and Gloria just make good things better.


My Grade: B+


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