Q&A with David Wellington

The Hydra Protocol by David Wellington is a suspenseful, gripping novel. It is a warning about the dangers of Russia, nuclear weapons, and rogue intelligence officials. This exciting thriller brings back memories of the Cold War era where annihilation was the fear of many Americans. The tale has both modern day and future computer technologies interwoven with Soviet atrocities and history.


Elise Cooper: Why did you make your main character, Jim Chapel, a former Army Ranger?


David Wellington: Jim is my way of saying a thank you to the troops. They have done an incredible job. These people are not about entitlements but are extraordinarily responsible. Jim is an emblem of how much I respect and admire our soldiers. I gave him a prosthetic arm because I wanted to show the sacrifices our soldiers make as well as the advancements made on how they work.


EC: Is this plot a warning?


DW: I grew up when Russia was the enemy. Besides my own experiences I did a lot of research to make the plot as realistic as possible. I think we are seeing their true colors today. The KGB tortured people and found ways to destroy them as human beings, which is why I put in the torture scenes. I wanted to show Chapel having absolutely no control. He could not stop what these people were doing to his body. That is the difference between their actions and our actions. No US administration would do those things to another human being. I would never call what was done to the terrorists after 9/11 evil like the torture written in this book.


EC: Does Perimeter really exist?


DW: It is a supercomputer that controls hundreds of nuclear missiles aimed at the U.S. Just one fail safe error, and America will be obliterated, especially since there are a number of computer glitches. I hope readers question why the Russians still aim missiles at America. This should be considered a very serious existential threat, a loaded gun pointed at us. I used computer technology of the past, present, and future. I tried to make it as realistic as possible although I did stretch a few things and fudged a few details.


EC: You also write about the Eastern Europe states and how they appear to be slaves to the Russian master?


DW: Russia takes advantage of these satellite states that cannot fight back. Look at what happened at Chernobyl. There is now this area that is radioactive. Another example, Lake Baikal used to be larger and is greatly downsized because of the chemical pollutants. There is also an Island nearby where bioweapons were tested and now Russia abandoned it, but never cleaned it up. Russia is creating and has created environmental time bombs.


EC: In the book you have music playing as the characters approach Perimeter. Did you get the idea from the Germans who played music as they sent Holocaust victims to their deaths?


DW: No. I got it from what the Russians did at Chernobyl. All life was killed and when scientists were sent there it was so quiet it was surreal. The Russian government countered this by putting up loudspeakers playing music.


EC: What do you want readers to get out of this book?


DW: A good entertaining story that is realistic and is a warning that the world is scarier than we think, especially if a rogue group gets ahold of a nuke. Maybe, also, a realization that we have outgrown nuclear missiles. Would we ever use them? We should modernize the armed forces and make it safer for our troops.


EC: Can you give a heads up about your next book?


DW: Julia will be back as a main character instead of making a cameo appearance as she did in this book. The readers will find a lot out about Angel. It will be more like this book regarding genre, not much horror.


EC: Did you enjoy the Phoenix Comicon?


DW: Yes. They had great panels. I enjoyed meeting people I have conversed with for years. I also enjoyed that it was more focused on books and comic books and less centered around movies and video games.