Bob Richards has led a life of service, both in his senior career in business and as finance minister for his home country, Bermuda. From growing up during segregation to shepherding the economy in Bermuda to prosperity and growth, Bob has always loved the island nation and cared about its future. And it was care for the history of his country which set Bob on his path as a writer and led him to the publication of the spy thriller Triangle of Treason which is sure to be a bestseller.
Bob grew up in Bermuda, an idyllic island where everyone in his community knew each other and he could safely walk to school from a very young age. But with such a close-knit community comes trouble for cheeky children, and there was nowhere to hide if there was any mischief, your parents would always find out! Bob recalls that if he ever spoke about a friend to his parents, their first question would always be ‘Who are their people?’ And especially in his teenage years when he was dating! Surrounded by a loving family, his childhood was lived out in a middle-class area with virtually no crime. Though Bermuda was still segregated at that time, US forces from the Island bases freely mingled with the locals, and there was a sense of economic optimism. His parents took a great deal of interest in his education, and there was regular conflict with his father over how well he was doing at school. When he was around seven years old he brought home a bad report card, and soon after, on Christmas day, received rocks, instead of gifts, in his stocking, something which shocks and amuses his children today.
But Bob credits some of these experiences with building resilience, in an environment which could have been very cosseted from the world at large. He was getting ready to thrive. After high school Bob ‘got off the rock’ and set off for Canada, where he initially studied engineering, later switching to economics. Neither, however, was his childhood dream of becoming a meteorologist which is probably a good thing as Bob jokes “No one in Bermuda knew what the hell that was”.
His sisters were also thriving and would become successful in their respective fields too. One as a writer and the other as a judge. When Bob achieved his MBA he went to work for two banks in Toronto where he cut his teeth. But after a while he decided to share his skills with his home nation, returning to Bermuda to become a banking regulator, and subsequently making investments at the institutional level.
Bob then set up his own investment business helping people make the most of their assets at a time when there was no one else doing that in the country. This was in the 1980s and the rise of the PC had just begun. Bob realised that he could use this new technology to manage millions of dollars worth of investments without employing an army of staff. Politics had been calling since 1997 but it was not until 2007 he was elected as a member of Parliament. However, the party he represented lost the election and he had to function as a parliamentarian with no backroom staff. Because of this, Bob did not have the services of a speechwriter and found that when he turned his hand to the task he was good at it.
He helped form a new party which was successful at its first election and Bob became Minister of Finance. “The civil servants loved not having to write speeches for me.” But Bob had already explored different plans for his new-found writing ability and began documenting the history of the ferry service he experienced as a boy. At that time the old boats and ferrymen were being wound down, and Bob saw it as “the close of a long old-fashioned era, I felt that the stories were dying. The people who worked on the ferries were such characters.”
Researching the book became a hobby, and though put on ice during his time as Minister, he soon picked it up again when his term ended. In the meantime, Bob’s book about the Bermuda economy and his time in office ‘Bermuda Back From The Brink’ had become a bestseller in the country, making him wonder whether he could combine political history into the book he had been working on for years.
The island is globally recognised as a strategic military and finance pivot and a gateway to the US and Europe. Bob realised that his unique perspective from inside politics on the Island would add to the book which later became Triangle of Treason. He said: “The first chapters just happened, all jumbled and out of sequence, but eventually I got organised and it was no longer a case of just tapping on the keyboard to see what came out!”
Inspired by the likes of Ken Follet who Bob describes as “my hero,” the book is more than just a spy thriller. It is embedded in geo-political history, making for a fascinating and entertaining read.