Assignment Part One: Shifter
is a gifted teleporter who works alongside British Special Forces in
trouble spots around the world. He has the ability to move his body
through a different dimension using only the power of thought. His skill
at taking passengers, and his enhanced senses that allow him to detect
living beings as energy pulses, makes him invaluable to military and
Having acquired teleportation (Shifting) through accidental exposure
to an unknown drug while in South America, Lock and his handlers are
worried when a similar drug, Starbirth, starts to appear in the United
States and Britain sold as an illegal 'high'. The results of Starbirth
use are far more devastating than feared as criminal and insane teleporters
(Shifters) begin to wreak havoc.
Lock and a small unit of covert operatives are given the task of finding
the source of Starbirth and shutting it down, but their efforts are
hindered by a number of ruthless people who have their own agendas to
First part of
a two-part story, concluding in The Starbirth Assignment Part Two: Transmutes
the book (UK) - Buy
the book (US)
Part Two: Transmutes
An illegal mind-bending drug,
inter-dimensional teleporters, levitation-flying, paranormal awareness,
covert operations with British Special Forces – this is life as
seen through the eyes of Lock Harford.
Lock is one of only two teleporters in the world until a new brain-altering
drug, Starbirth, emerges from South America. Starbirth creates an explosion
of insane teleporter criminals who threaten the stability of every country
around the globe.
Lock is joined in his quest to shut down the source of Starbirth by
a small team of covert Special Forces operatives, including Jimmy Mackenzie,
a Special Air Service trooper whose life is changed forever by events
he could not foresee. Together they enter an uncertain future in which
‘defending the realm’ becomes a personal fight for their
Concludes the two-part story.
The first part is in The Starbirth Assignment Part One: Shifter.
the book (UK) - Buy
the book (US)
a teleporter (Shifter) who can physically move through another dimension
using only the power of thought, works alongside British Special Forces
in trouble spots around the world. His employers at the British Secret
Intelligence Service (MI6) need his help to eliminate some lethal weapons.
Terrorists are using the weapons to inflict heavy losses upon British
Special Forces in the conflict zones of Afghanistan and the borderlands
Special Air Service troopers with him, including his colleague Jimmy
Mackenzie, Lock is embroiled in a battle far greater than the one he
anticipated. The situation becomes even more precarious when personal
enemies, who wish to eliminate Lock and Jimmy before they can find the
weapons, pursue them halfway across the world.
the book (UK) Buy
the book (US)
a teleporter who can move his body through a dark matter dimension using
only the power of his mind, knows that the only way to release Britain
from the grip of marauding teleporter criminals is to fight like with
like. His employers want him to head up a team of enhanced-ability operatives
whose special powers will be created by controlled procedures rather
than substance abuse of the illegal drug Starbirth, but the dubious
quality of candidates delays the process. In the meantime he is working
flat out to protect his family and his country against dark threats
emerging from the madness of Starbirth addiction, hindered by devastating
treachery closer to home.
Shadow Team GB is book four of the five-book Starbirth series but it
can be read as a stand-alone novel as well.
the book (UK) Buy
the book (US)
The Starbirth books
The fantasy of humans developing paranormal and super-powered mental
skills has been a lifelong fascination and the Starbirth series began
as an exchange of comic emails on that theme. The emails sparked a process
in which the Starbirth story was born. It soon evolved into novels.
In Lock Harford’s world the experience of teleportation –
his ability to travel through another dimension using only the power
of his mind – is unique and different from that of his American
colleague and fellow teleporter (Shifter), Mike Northwood. Each of them
interprets the alternate reality according to the way their minds work.
Travel through the dimension is not instantaneous, thus giving them
time to appreciate the wonder of what they sense. Lock’s interpretation
is that of dark and dangerous shapes whereas Northwood’s interpretation
is full of colours and scents. Lock has also acquired a skill that no-one
else possesses: within the paranormal realm he can sense living beings
as hues of colour.
The range of skills Lock and Northwood acquire attracts the attention
of military and intelligence establishments, who can think of many ways
of using them. Lock and Northwood, youngsters when they discover their
powers, are recruited into armed forces in the United Kingdom and United
States respectively and make a significant difference in trouble spots
around the world, working alongside Special Forces and intelligence
The drug Starbirth enters their world with the shock of a hurricane,
creating more teleporters and people who gain other powers like shape-shifting
(transmutation), telepathy (the ability to read minds), and telekinesis
(the power to move objects using mental ability). The Starbirth drug
is a potent mix of catalyst and cocaine. Lock and Northwood discover
that genetic unsuitability, over-use and long-term use among Starbirth
addicts drives some of them insane, giving rise to a nightmare scenario
of teleporters who are keen to use their powers to cause mayhem.
The reader is taken on fast-paced adventures starring Lock, Northwood
and Lock’s friend and colleague Jimmy Mackenzie, a Special Air
Service trooper whose skill at adapting to adverse circumstances is
stretched to the limit by foes unlike any he has ever encountered before.
Sometimes accompanied by friends, sometimes surrounded by enemies and
sometimes put in situations where it is difficult to tell the difference
between friend and enemy, their journey into the unknown is never going
to be quiet or easy.
reviews of the Starbirth series, from readers including military and
This is a clever action novel which is fast-moving and engaging. J
M Johnson intelligently uses the science-fiction devices of altered
abilities to explore a theme of covert operations in South America.
It contains a detailed view of operations by Special Forces in a fantasy
context which nevertheless conveys a convincing atmosphere. The author
relates an accurate picture of the close bond between comrades in
the context of the way in which they are deployed by their own masters
and others who might have power over them. As the plot develops it
becomes more and more difficult to put the book down.
A most unusual and well researched adventure which has a bearing on
current issues and possibly future ones too. Regiment members may
find it pretty thought-provoking. It is also a tribute to our Armed
and Special Forces and the commitment they make to their country.
Crossing genres is ambitious at the best of times, but when you're
a new author it's not a project to be approached without extreme care.
The care taken by J M Johnson then is the key to this books success.
The diligent research undertaken is evident from the outset and while
great attention to detail is present throughout (particularly in all
things military), the skill of the writer shines in using it to enhance
the intelligent plot, rather than bog the reader down.
Introducing a vehicle such as super powers into a military setting
sounds more like a set for improvisational comedy than the basis of
a credible novel, but these elements are interwoven with no little
skill and produce an invitation to action and adventure that is irresistible.
As if that wasn't enough, the author evokes an impressive level of
empathy for the carefully crafted characters.
Humour, pace, excitement and intellectual intrigue are in abundance
from first to last as the multi layered characters of Harford and
MacKenzie take us on a globetrotting battle against the darkest of
Topical, fantastic, spectacular, clever and above all, superbly crafted.