I thought I'd do something a little different: talk about some of the main characters in the novels. I am writing an action series that may be a little different from the norm in that although there is one central figure (the Warlock), that central figure has a varying cast from which to choose. How is that different? Not a single John Wick or Jason Bourne ass kicker, but a team that may be hand selected on a given task based on something like a language skill particular to a target area. A good character to be an example in that regard would be 'Mojo'.
Step back just a hair...what I needed was 1) connecting tissue between countries I have identified as adversaries-- China, Russia, Iran and Turkey; and 2) a mechanism to bridge interests between these countries as well as afford a means to attack. To the right you see the desired end state of the Kurdish people-- Kurdistan. Note how it overlaps several borders-- Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey. Another administrative note before I forget-- I have a FaceBook page ( click the pic to the right and below to get to the FB site) I use to post all the photos/images/maps from all the six books for a reader's reference. They can be blown up to a readable size and are all in color (the paperbacks are not).
Anyways, the Warlock looked around for an ally with interests common to the US and discerned a relationship with the various Peshmerga fighters could get access into denied areas as well as be a worthy partner. When first introduced, Mojo was somewhat of a newbie SEAL whose father immigrated from this Kurdistan blob on the map and taught his son both Turkish and Kurd dialects from the cradle.
So, Mojo is selected based on his skillset of 1) language and 2) warrior attributes as a shooter. He is a perfectly natural fit for his introduction to unconventional warfare (UW) under the tutelage of a CIA paramilitary officer (PMO) at the very beginning of the Iraq War. His story starts in When Towers Fall, continues in the next book The Baltic Chain while he fortifies his relationship/friendship with a young Kurd fighter named Azwer. Book 3, The Baltic Chain, takes the reader to Syria and a Russian target set that Mojo and Azwer's partisans take out with Javelin missile fires. The point as far as Mojo as a character goes is: as his skills/maturity progresses, so do his responsibilities and the need to further the tactical relationship with the Kurd fighters. It goes even further in Book 5, The Zangezur Campaign as Mojo operates in Armenia with support from Azwer, now a chieftain of the Kurdish resistance. The Mojo/Azwer relationship spans at least 15 years and sees action in Syria, Armenia, and Turkey against foes from Iran, Turkey and Russia. Through Mojo you can see how UW works: by building a long, trusted relationship based mostly on common strategic aims and possibly deviating a bit to accommodate an intense loyalty to each other after mutual brushes with death. I'll explain the Excel timeline in another post.