I’ve discussed the historical background of End Game in a previous essay (July 16, 2012). In this post I’ll just go into my process a bit. The storyline was conceived in the period between 2004-2006 when I was working on the first draft of Death of an Activist. I wrote the first pages that year, and the first section was nearly completed in 2008. I set it aside and came back to it in the summer of 2012. I had years of research behind me, beginning with with NATO’S assault on Serbia in 1999 and going back to the the rise of the American empire following the Second World War.
Despite the fact that all of my work is grounded in history, it is primarily character driven. When I sat down to finish the book, the two main characters, Lazar and his nemesis turned helper, Mehmet, were already well drawn. Lazar, the army officer accused of war crimes is noble, austere, intellectual, rational on the one hand, and a cold, embittered, unloving –a man who has never had the courage to break from his past and live to his full potential, on the other.
Mehmet, is everything earthy, hard-living, scheming, amoral and less than savory, but good hearted underneath it all, as evidenced by his love for helpless animals. He’s Sancho Panza to Lazar’s knight and was, without a doubt, the most fun to write. I adore his initial introduction, tattooed, hungover, and hopeless after a night of debauchery in a whorehouse.
Petar is a Falstafian figure; Nada, Lazar’s longtime partner, is everything loving, good and patient in a woman, which Lazar discovers much too late. Robideaux, the cynical Amerindian journalist, and his feisty girlfriend, Marianne, established in DOA, put the events into perspective, but take on a secondary role in this story, along with Julian Fletcher, the defense attorney, and Adem, an Albanian and the primary witness.
The only main character left, the Chief prosecutor of the ICTY, Marie-Claude Scherer, had to represent the West, the thrust of neo-liberalism into the world theater, ignorance coupled with ruthless ambition and a drive for dominance, the banality of evil, and feminism gone berserk in one bad ass bureaucratic package. I’m certain no matter what our political persuasion, we can find public figures in the political arena to fit the description. However, I wanted to stay away from anyone who is actually known, and used my own worst traits, as well as those belonging to the people who have irritated me most in life, to shape her. She’s a true horror, God love her.
The book itself focuses on the nature of justice in a extremely morally compromised world and indicates where we might be headed as a global society in the future. It’s a fast paced and dramatic read, and I hope the readers will enjoy it.