Version Thirteen

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Imagine a piece of technology so valuable that it turns the world's two most powerful lobbies—the oil industry and the arms trade—against one another. Yavlinsky, a brilliant Russian scientist, has created a piece of wonder-technology: a drilling process that uses the forces of supercavitation. Named "Version Thirteen," it enables oil explorers to take 40 percent more oil out of the ground—it's worth trillions. But there's a problem. Supercavitation is also the basis for highly sophisticated weaponry—submarines and torpedoes that can travel at hundreds of kilometers per hour beneath the sea. Russian arms dealers have been selling this technology to Iran since the 1980s. If the revolutionary oil-drilling technology works, the weaponry is rendered useless. When Yavlinksy is found dead, the designs for the revolutionary drilling process are stolen or destroyed. Except one set of design plans does still exist. The one lodged in Samuel Spendlove's head. Spendlove, an Oxford academic now working as a spy, is the novel's hero. Blessed (or cursed) with a photographic memory, he suddenly finds himself the most wanted man in the world. The story of his pursuit takes us from the Middle East to Moscow to the Kamchatka peninsula, a land of no roads and many active volcanoes, one of the most remote and spectacular places on the planet. Fans of Robert Harris and Martin Cruz Smith will love Martin Baker. Combining painstaking research with the forensic storytelling skill of a Hollywood screenwriter, Version Thirteen marks the arrival of a master of the genre.


Martin Baker is a novelist, scriptwriter, and editor, and a judge of the Writers' Revolution scriptwriting competition. He has worked as a broadcaster at LBC, a city reporter for the Times, money correspondent for the Independent, investment editor at the International Herald Tribune, and associate editor of Sunday Business. He read law at Oxford and qualified as a lawyer at a top city firm before pursuing his career as a journalist. As well as the planned series of Samuel Spendlove books, he is also the author of A Fool and His Money.