Henry Porter has spent most of his career as a journalist, during which time he has covered such historic stories as the Fall of the Berlin Wall, the Bosnian Civil War, and, more recently, the migrant crisis in Europe. All have inspired novels – the Berlin Wall prompted Brandenburg, Bosnia produced A Spy’s life and the trek into Europe of hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the war in Syria is the genesis for Firefly.
His books are about the times we live in, and they all seek to show the impact of enormous historical events on the individuals caught up in them. As important to Henry, is the truth of the setting, which is why he spends so much time on the ground researching the locations he is writing about and the way people live their lives and overcome challenges that most of us never have to face.
But the stories are not just about historic events - they are also concerned with modern espionage, both the desperate need to counter emerging threats and the moral questions thrown up by an increasingly complex world. And against this background there is his fascination with the expression of character – the way some people hold onto their humanity despite everything, while others lie, betray and kill.
His latest novel, Firefly, as well as being about the threats that we face today is also the start of a great love story between two good people, a former British Spy and a psychologist working in a NGO, both of whom have been profoundly affected by their experiences but find themselves at odds, because their ambition pulls them in different directions and they won't admit how much they mean to each other. The sequel to Firefly, White Hot Silence, will be published in 2019.