In addition to his literate, grounded and well-informed non-fiction writings exploring the UFO and abduction issues, "Thunder Child" published in 1999 is confirmation that ex-MOD official Nick Pope's literary talents stretch to the fiction genre. And he turns out to be a pretty competent novelist too.
"Thunder Child" is a full-length sci-fi novel about the early stages of a threatened alien invasion experienced from a uniquely British perspective, extrapolating what the author learned about the ET/UFO and abduction issues whilst working at the MOD into a fictional scenario for the near future. In addition to good plot development (with unexpected twists) and a well-drawn cast of characters, the book is interesting because it reveals real insider-insight into the workings of government and the military; exactly how such a crisis might be managed behind closed doors and kept out of the public eye by stonewalling and media management for as long as possible.
At the beginning of the book are three and a half pages of military acronyms and abbreviations, used in the real world in virtually all dialogue between armed forces personnel, official and unofficial: Nick's decision to employ this kind of detail gives the story more realism. The book is particularly good in describing the standard operating procedures of RAF Strike Command, the early warning radar system, the SAS on operations and the daily interactions between elected ministers and unelected government officials.
The author is quite skilled in how he weaves together some of the persistent obsessions of UFOlogy with his knowledge of exactly how government and officialdom works into a good yarn. The reported deep underground facilities under Bentwaters/Woodbridge stretching out under the North Sea, the modus operandi and purposes of the apparent alien abductors, the differing perspectives about benign or not-so-benign ET intentions are all explored through the characters and dialogue and made to serve the plot. A blow for gender-equality is struck by the author's decision to make a female RAF pilot the leading top-gun, revealing the combat action through her eyes. There's a dig at the Americans too, suggesting that in such a crisis they may prove to be duplicitous and behave from self-interest, and the "special relationship" is in reality one-sided. From someone with such deep inside knowledge of the UK MOD, this is kind of revealing don't you think?
The book ends in such a way as to point the reader to the sequel - "Operation Lightning Strike", which effectively continues the same narrative with some of the same characters (and some new ones) and takes the invasion idea to the next stage.
If you're interested in the UFO/ET issue, or if you like sci-fi as a genre, you'll probably enjoy this book. "Thunder Child" had a good print run so second-hand copies are cheap and plentiful. Find a good one, read it in a weekend, and add it to the collection.