Terry Brennan lets readers in on Brian Mullaney's final mission
Part 2 of an interview with Terry Brennan,
Author of Ottoman Dominion
When Diplomatic Security Service Special Agent Brian Mullaney received his new assignment to protect the newly appointed US ambassador to Israel and what he thought was an insignificant box, he ended up with more responsibility than he could ever imagine. Inside the box was a messianic prophecy about the fate of the world that a dark enemy and the forces of evil at his command were determined to destroy. Not only that, agents of three ancient empires have launched covert operations to secure nuclear weapons, in direct defiance of the startling peace treaty Israel and its Arab neighbors have signed—the Ishmael Covenant. Mullaney and the ambassador have been targeted, and it’s up to him to thwart an arms race.
Mullaney has survived an explosion, being shot, and losing his best friend. He’s had enough and wants out. In Terry Brennan’s Ottoman Dominion (Kregel Publications), the last installment of the Empires of Armageddon trilogy, Mullaney has been drawn against his will into a dangerous international mission with world-ending implications—and his final assignment is going to pit him directly against the terrifying, evil entity known only as the Turk.
Q: What is Brian Mullaney’s final mission?
Brian Mullaney is a highly regarded veteran of the Diplomatic Security Service, which protects American foreign service personnel. Mullaney is banished to Israel as Regional Security Officer and assigned to protect new US Ambassador Joseph Atticus Cleveland and all of the Foreign Service personnel in Israel. Mullaney, however, is also enlisted into another task.
Through the influence of the angel, Bayard, and the insistence of aged rabbi Mordechai Herzog, Mullaney finds himself responsible for a lethal metal box that has gruesomely killed anyone who touches it. Once the protector of the Vilna Gaon’s second prophecy, the “‘box of power’” now has a mission of its own, a mission that will put Mullaney’s life at risk and transport him into the darkest depths of hell on earth.
Bayard informs Mullaney that his assignment, and his destiny, is to be the “final guardian” of the box of power, and to personally carry that box of power on its final mission, to withstand and vanquish the malevolent agents of evil, The Turk and The One. In order to accomplish this mission, Mullaney must not only take the box of power into the midst of the Turk’s lair in Ankara, but he must also hand over the box—and its power—to those enemies who most want to destroy Mullaney, those close to him, and the plans and purposes of God in this earth.
Q: The entire series has been released this year—that’s quite the quick turnaround, which is sure to please readers. The story took place in a short span too, but did the writing process itself flow that quickly and smoothly?
It was a quick turnaround that had my head spinning. I wrote the first draft of Ishmael Covenant in May 2015 and submitted the final manuscript two years later. We finished editing the third book, Ottoman Dominion, in August 2020. So, it took five years for me to complete the series from start to finish. Sounds like a long time. But the reality is that during a three-year span from submission in May 2017 to this past August, I had all three books of the series at some stage of the editing process at the same time.
So, when I submitted the final manuscript for book three, my editors at Kregel and I were still working on the editing for the first two. Now that was a challenge, keeping everything straight. There were times I asked myself what book am I working on now?
The primary action of the entire three-book series took place during a two-week period, from July 9 to July 23, 2014. There were some preliminary “set-up” chapters and a few “wrap-up” chapters at the beginning and end, but most of the story takes place during that two-week stretch. A very compressed time frame for the development of three complete novels.
For me, the writing never flows quickly and smoothly. As a writer, I’m a gardener, not an architect. A seed gets planted, watered, the sun shines on it, and we see how it grows and what directions it will take. The same with the characters. While some authors have everything mapped out before they begin, I have an idea of where we’ll start and where we’ll end up, but the rest is the adventure of seeing where the story goes. But, because of the tight timing of the books, and the compressed editing schedule, I was forced to develop an Excel spreadsheet that helped me to keep track of the date, time and location for each of the scenes throughout the entire series and for each book.
Q: In the middle of trying to keep peace in the Middle East and halting the end of the world, Mullaney is fighting his own spiritual battle. Can you tell us about his spiritual journey?
Brian Mullaney’s faith is steadfast and determined, just like Brian. He is not a “go-to-church-on-Christmas” kind of Christian believer. His close, personal connection to God, which took years of nurturing from his youth to develop, is evident throughout the series as he prays urgently and fervently on several occasions.
And, often, Brian needs those prayers to be answered. His two-decade marriage is in danger. Abby and their daughters remained in Virginia when Mullaney was unfairly banished to Israel. Mullaney is attempting to solve the mystery of his downfall by navigating the back rooms of the State Department while at the same time upholding his duty as the man most responsible for the life and safety of Ambassador Cleveland and the other personnel.
But Mullaney’s greatest spiritual challenge falls on him unexpectedly. In addition to chasing a band of murderous thugs around Tel Aviv and trying to thwart an act of nuclear terrorism in Turkey, Mullaney finds himself being asked to take on a daunting spiritual responsibility as the final guardian of the box. And only the fate of the world, the integrity of Biblical prophecy and the personal safety of those he loves most hangs in the balance.
Q: Do you think readers will be surprised by the ending?
I hope so. There are cliff-hanger situations at the end of the first two novels of the series, and I wanted to be faithful to the first two in completing the third. So, while I believe the ending of Ottoman Dominion will bring about a satisfactory conclusion to both the novel and the series, I would be very surprised if any of the readers are able to predict the ending. In fact, I didn’t figure it out myself until halfway through writing the third book.
Q: What message do you hope readers walk away with?
Spiritual warfare is real. Evil is real. And they are both present on this earth today. But, in order for there to be a tangible and ongoing spiritual conflict, good must also be real. The result of this battle between good and evil, evidence of which we can often see around us, is far more than “good wins.” The result that matters is where did we stand? What did I do in my life to hold back the forces of evil? Because we are not ordained to be observers—we are enlisted to be warriors.
Q: For those who aren’t quite ready to say goodbye to the series yet, what bonuses do you have available for readers who sign up for your newsletter?
There is a host of unique, free material I supply to readers who subscribe to my website. First off, there are two unique and exclusive short stories that I’ve written for subscribers and those who request the special offer in the Author’s Notes from the back of each book in the series. The first short story is titled The Gaon’s Revenge. And I’ve just written a new one, Under the Radar, which looks into the early history of the character who is only identified as “the man in the Panama hat.” In addition, I send out a monthly newsletter that offers an in depth look into one of the items listed in the Author’s Notes. Subscribers also receive invitations to special events (such as virtual launch parties) and book giveaways.
Q: Now that this series has come to a close, what’s next for you? Do you have another book in the works?
This year, with three books released over just nine months, my life has been dominated by the marketing side of being an author. I’ve launched a blog, been writing the short stories, and sending regular newsletters.
It’s been hard to find time to write, but, I’ve written a non-fiction book titled Rescuing the Hidden Hearts of Men. It’s a very different book for me. It’s still a work in progress, so there’s no set plans for release yet.
In addition, I have a few projects “in the works.” There is a book I wrote ten years ago that needed a lot of work then and still needs a lot of work now. I’m trying to get that one in better shape. And I’ve started outlining an Irish mystery/thriller that is set over three generations and plays out extensively in late 19th century Manhattan. And I’ve just started thinking through a contemporary thriller, also set in NYC. Those projects may take some time.
More on Brennan can be found at www.terrybrennanauthor.com. He is also on Facebook (Terry Brennan) and Twitter (@terrbrennan1).
Read more about Ottoman Dominion here.