The Wilkes Insurrection
A Contemporary Thriller
Robbie Bach

An elusive extremist hell-bent on destroying America.
A woman of uncommon valor haunted by her tragic past.
A dark web hacker confronting his conscience.
A failed intelligence officer in search of redemption.

Air Force Major Tamika Smith is serving as a Search and Rescue reservist at Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha when a commercial airplane crash-lands at the airfield.


Thrust into action, Tamika dives into the flaming wreckage to pull out any survivors. Among the lives she tries to save are retired billionaire Charles Roscovitch and his wife Shea, and a tech entrepreneur named Johnny who has gone missing amidst the carnage. When her commander, Colonel Jerry “JJ” Jessup, brashly announces to the world that this was a terrorist attack, Tamika becomes something of an overnight internet sensation and hero.

But this was not an isolated hit by a suicide bomber. The terrorist, Obaid bin Latif, strikes again the very next day and attacks a wide array of targets over the next eighteen months. Also involved is Bryce Roscovitch, Charles’s long estranged son and a programming savant and dark web supplier. But the real mastermind behind the destruction is Ford Wilkes — a subversive operator engaged in a “special form of venture capitalism.” He funds terrorists. His life experiences and his connection to a group called The Brotherhood have led to a mission of anarchy, fear, and dissent.

Wilkes is smart, patient, and without conscience. He has a plan afoot to destroy America from within. Pawns are moved in an orchestrated plot. Law enforcement is played like puppets.

In an environment of fake news, red vs blue, “haves” vs. “have nots,” immigrant tensions, and a virus pandemic, a polarized nation beings to split at its seams. With thousands dying and the strikes becoming increasingly personal, Tamika and an unlikely collection of committed Americans must answer a fundamental question: how far would you go to save what you love?

Chillingly set against a backdrop of modern-day events comes a story driven by themes of revenge and hope, guilt and redemption, separation and family. With heart-pounding action, a rich tapestry of characters, and a twisting plot filled with political intrigue and technothriller tones, The Wilkes Insurrection will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

The Wilkes Insurrection

Tamika Smith

Tamika Smith is a Combat Search and Rescue reservist with a painful past. With a General for a father and a brother in the Navy, she comes from a family of patriots who have made great sacrifices. Tamika has her own set of challenges including a harrowing secret from her early years in the Air Force. When a commercial airliner crash-lands at Offutt Air Force Base, she dives into the flaming wreckage to pull out survivors. Her commander, Colonel Jerry “JJ” Jessup, brashly announces to the world that this was a terrorist attack – and Tamika unwittingly becomes an overnight internet sensation.

Thrust into the spotlight and at a tipping point in her career, Tamika must make a choice. Continue in her current roles as a reservist and government staffer…or leverage her fame to catapult into the national political fray and the fight to stop the illusive bomber? Against a modern-day backdrop of government gridlock, fake news, and racial tensions, Tamika joins a coalition of leaders fighting to counter America’s rising fear and the escalating anarchy. But as she struggles to overcome her internal demons and play a role in rescuing the nation, new enemies have put her squarely in their sights.

Just the Facts

  • Born 1980, currently 39
  • Biracial, Black hair, 5' 11" 235 lbs
  • Olympic-class sprinter at Air Force Academy
  • Served in Afghanistan and Iraq as a Combat Search and Rescue specialist
  • Lawyer for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
  • Also a Major in the Air Force Reserves

Favorites

  • Food: Chicken (protein cooked any of seven ways)
  • Media: "Saving Private Ryan" and "Remember the Titans" (Tom or Denzel?)
  • Book: The Lions Game – Nelson DeMille; Team of Rivals – Doris Kearns Goodwin
  • Athlete: Wilma Rudolph; Sue Bird, David Robinson
  • Weapon: Speed...

Listen to Tamika's Theme Song on Spotify

Listen to Tamika's Playlist on Spotify

Bryce Roscovitch

Bryce Roscovitch’s birth created huge challenges for his parents, Shea and Charles. He was loved as a treasured son, but he also added financial challenges and parental pressures to their already crowded plates. Whether by nature or nurture (and as always, probably a bit of both), Bryce struggled to find his way growing up. He looked up to his father and loved his mother, but he never found the attention he thought he deserved. The contrast with his younger sister Angela, who was always on task and prospering socially, only made life more difficult. His isolation and awkwardness led him down a dark path.

He manages to find a productive path forward – at least as far as he is concerned. While his father found fortune in the commercial world, Bryce finds success as a dark web supplier of goods and services. And in many respects, he surpasses his father’s own technical achievements and finds pride in becoming one of the best in his line of work. At least until his actions contribute to much pain and suffering. Then, Bryce must face his own conscience and make important life and death choices that risk exposing him to society…and law enforcement.

Just the Facts

  • An unplanned arrival in 1980 – Bryce's birth disrupted the Roscovitch family "Plan"
  • Impossibly shy, gangly AND dumpy, slightly hooked nose with a round face
  • Caught in the crossfire of his father's expectations
  • Technically brilliant with the matching lack of social skills
  • Finds his place in life on the Dark Web
  • Knows what is "right" but rationalizes it away

Favorites

  • Food: PB&J plus Diet Coke...the food of champions
  • Media: Anything you can't find on the regular internet
  • Book: "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"
  • Athlete: Fatal1ty (E-sports is the new sports)
  • Weapon: Harnessing the power of a stream of 1's and 0's.

Listen to Bryce's Theme Song on Spotify

Listen to Bryce's Playlist on Spotify

Jerry Jessup

Colonel Jerry “JJ” Jessup is an Air Force lifer who believes deeply in the mission. His excellent combat record and high-end cloak and dagger skills had put him on the fast track. But when he missed some clues and disaster followed, his path to the Joint Chiefs stalled. Unwilling to give in to the realities of the Peter Principle, he climbed steadily to the level of Colonel, responsible for one of the nation’s most important Intelligence gathering bases. JJ is the definition of the straight-laced military leader – respected by his officers, feared by the enlisted, and viewed as an asshole by all. But behind it all lies a committed patriot desperate for redemption.

When Flight 209 crashes at Offutt Air Force Base, JJ sees an opportunity to revive his career. Knowing how to manipulate the chain of command as well as anyone, he’s able to insert himself into the very center of the crash investigation. And for once in his life, he breaks with protocol and announces a bombshell on the press corps and the rest of the country. Then, the fight to uncover the truth becomes very personal – with each new failure pushing him closer to the edge. His determination will either lead to an end of the attacks or it will be the end of JJ.

Just the Facts

  • Trying to avoid turning 50
  • Tall, thick black mustache, with a Top Gun physique and swagger
  • Combat pilot in Bosnia and Iraq
  • Deep background in intelligence gathering; almost a real "spook."
  • Offutt Air Force Base Commander
  • Family man married to his wife and the service

Favorites

  • Food: Meat and potatoes (and beer)
  • Media: "NCIS" – Even if Jethro Gibbs is a jarhead.
  • Book: Only files marked "Confidential" or "Need-to-Know"
  • Athlete: Rocky Bleier and Roger Staubach
  • Weapon: F-18 or a Glock 23

Listen to Jerry's Theme Song on Spotify

Listen to Jerry's Playlist on Spotify

Obaid Bin Latif

Obaid bin Latif is a purported refugee from the Syrian civil war. He carefully keeps his background murky and tries to hide in plan view amongst the other Syrians that were resettled in Michigan. Over time, he masters different looks, walks, and accents as tools of deception. He also has excellent communications skills and has a knack for turning a phrase, often at the expense of some public figure.

He develops a relationship with Ford Wilkes and is his most important disciple and operative. Although he’s not a true follower of Islam, he utilizes the faith as a cover for his true passion – the destruction of order and propagating the chaos that follows. He is experienced in field work and meticulous in his operations planning, always scheming to instigate an attack without leaving a lasting trail. With each mission, he knows that he is exposed and his life is at risk, but he thrives on the knowledge that every action could be his last.

Just the Facts

  • Family history unknown
  • Trained in Raqqa, Syria
  • A Jihadist that prefers to live
  • Expert in disguises
  • Spokesperson for the Islamic Brotherhood Front
  • A loner

Favorites

  • Food: Hamburgers and hot dogs
  • Media: YouTube videos
  • Books: Chronicles of Narnia and American Conspiracies
  • Athlete: Muhammad Ali
  • Weapon: Wigs, Ford Escapes, and C-Textrate

Listen to Obaid's Theme Song on Spotify

Listen to Obaid's Playlist on Spotify

Ford Wilkes

Ford Wilkes is on the path to the American Dream. Raised in Detroit in a dysfunctional marriage, he is the son of an auto worker who finds his passion in technology. He is the first in his family to graduate from college. His career in IT gets off to a great start with a regional bank, and while he struggles with dating and finding a life partner, he finds real joy in his work. Then the 2007-2008 recession hits, his bank struggles, and he loses his job. Unable to deal with his perceived failure, he finds others to blame and creates a new mission for his future.

Wilkes leaves Detroit and migrates westward, eventually finding a second wave of success working in IT in the oil and gas fracking industry. But he never forgets what “others did to him,” and sets out on a plan to return the favor. With government and women as his twin demons, he puts his technical skills and financial resources to work in a deadly game of chaos and destruction. With Obaid bin Latif as his “partner,” he evades the FBI until the time comes to spring his trap.

Just the Facts

  • Born 1983, currently 36
  • 5'10" and 185 pounds, brown hair with wavy curls, chunky but in shape
  • Graduated from Wayne State University with degree in Computer Science
  • Lost job in 2008 recession
  • Disenfranchised misogynist
  • Tech skilled, venture capitalist but with a focus on anarchy

Favorites

  • Food: Chips, salsa, and beer
  • Media: Twitter, Breitbart News, AON, and Newsmax
  • Book: Hillbilly Elegy and The Da Vinci Code
  • Athlete: Gordie Howe and John Daly
  • Weapon: Drones and a Beretta Px4

Listen to Ford's Theme Song on Spotify

Listen to Ford's Playlist on Spotify

Locations

The Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

Washington, D.C.

Abraham Lincoln and his legacy are the metaphorical heart of The Wilkes Insurrection. The Memorial itself, dedicated in 1922, is the site of many important events that drive the story line.

Arlington National Cemetary

Arlington National Cemetary

Washington, D.C.

In many respects, Arlington National Cemetery is the heart and soul of the US military. It is certainly hallowed ground that both Major Tamika Smith and Colonel Jerry Jessup will protect with their lives.

Union Station (DC)

Union Station (DC)

Washington, D.C.

Although we don’t think about our train system as an important part of our national infrastructure, Union Station plays a vital role in Washington, DC and east coast transportation. And it is not well protected.

Glass House and Space Needle

Glass House and Space Needle

Seattle, WA

These dual icons of Seattle, WA play an important role in local tourism and are often featured in book, TV, and movie scenes. Major Tamika Smith has lived all over the world, but Puget Sound becomes her home turf.

The Pentagon

The Pentagon

Arlington, Virginia

The Pentagon effectively connects the major Washington, D.C. monuments with Arlington National Cemetery. A classical stone fortress-like it is a shape turned into a building turned into an icon. Colonel Jerry Jessup knew it was intimidating by design – attacks on the Pentagon were a violation of the country as a whole.

Washington National Cathedral

Washington National Cathedral

Washington, D.C.

In times of crisis, our nation gathers for prayer and reflection. The National Cathedral has played an important role in our history to honor important people, events, and passings.

9/11 Memorial South Pool

9/11 Memorial South Pool

New York City, NY

Attacks on our home turf have been rare over time but they change our outlook on what it means to defend our country. The 9/11 assaults at the World Trade Center changed our country forever.

Reviews

"A timely, must-read thriller with rich characters and a plot full of unexpected turns. Get ready to fall in love with Tamika Smith."

— Robert Dugoni
International bestselling author of the Tracy Crosswhite series

"Compelling characters, dark web intrigue, and a wonderfully twisted plot.  Pull this timely thriller to the top of your reading list."

— Former U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan
New York Times Bestselling Author

"Tamika Smith is the hero we need right now."

— Retired U.S. Navy Officer Brad Snyder
5 Time Gold Medalist, Paralympic Swimming

"Robbie Bach has built on his Xbox credentials to spin a great, contemporary thriller. Like any great video game, the storytelling is engaging, the evil is visceral, and the forces of good must unite to rise to the occasion."

— Pete Parsons, CEO and Chairman, Bungie Studios
creators of Halo and Destiny

"More plot twists than a bobsled run."

— Steve Messler
Olympic Gold Medalist, Bobsled, and Founder, Classroom of Champions

"Inhale The Wilkes Insurrection for its timely relevance, then linger in its promise for humanity. Bach is an exciting talent to watch for readers who love authors like Jeffrey Archer, Tom Clancy, and Nelson DeMille."

— Justina Chen, award winning author
North of Beautiful and Lovely, Dark, and Deep

Robbie Bach

About the Author

Robbie Bach is best known for founding and leading the team that created the Xbox. Today he is an entertaining storyteller and catalyzing voice who writes books and speaks to audiences on leadership, creativity, strategy, and civic issues.

Robbie joined Microsoft in 1988. Over the next twenty-two years, he worked in various marketing and business management roles—including supporting the successful launch and expansion of Microsoft Office. As Chief Xbox Officer, he led the creation and development of the Xbox business, including the launch of the Xbox, and its highly popular successor, Xbox 360, as well as the Xbox Live gaming platform. Then as Microsoft’s President of the Entertainment and Devices Division, he was responsible for the company’s worldwide gaming, music, video, phone, and retail sales businesses until he retired in 2010.

In his current role as a civic engineer, Robbie works with corporate, philanthropic, and civic organizations to help drive positive change in our communities. He guest-lectures extensively at a variety of colleges and universities and speaks to corporate, civic, nonprofit, and trade association audiences across the country. In 2015, he published his first book, Xbox Revisited: A Game Plan for Corporate and Civic Renewal.

He currently chairs the board of the Bipartisan Policy Center and serves on the national board of governors for Boys and Girls Clubs of America. He previously served as a board member of the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee, Sonos Inc., Brooks Running Company, the Space Needle Inc., and Year Up Puget Sound. He is the co-owner of Manini’s, Inc., a gluten-free pasta and baking company.

Robbie was an Arjay Miller Scholar at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he earned his MBA, and a Morehead Scholar at the University of North Carolina, where he earned a degree in economics and was named an Academic All-American on the Tar Heel’s tennis team.

He and his wife, Pauline, reside in Medina, Washington with their yellow lab, Roscoe. They have three grown children and one grandchild. He loves peanut M&Ms, upholding heroic ideals, and those motivated to save the world—although not necessarily in that order. The Wilkes Insurrection (2021) is his first novel.