PETER Adamson’s 16 years working in a senior post in New York for the United Nations have inspired his latest novel.

The Kennedy Moment is set during the 1980s in various locations including Oxford, New York, Washington and Geneva.

The political thriller, launched by the author at Blackwell's in Oxford last month, features American Dr Michael Lowell, who accepts an invitation to a weekend reunion of Oxford college friends.

Five people are drawn into a conspiracy that could force the hand of governments and affect millions.

The plot focuses on negotiations surrounding mass immunisation programmes and in his book Mr Adamson pays tribute to James Grant, former executive director of UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund). The author was Mr Grant’s senior adviser.

Mr Grant led efforts to boost immunisation coverage from 20 per cent to 40 per cent of the world’s children within five years and to 80 per cent by the end of the 1980s.

Mr Adamson said: “The dramatic rise in immunisation across the poor world during the 1980s is a matter of public record.

“Many millions of children’s lives were - and continue to be - saved by a decade-long effort which saw immunisation coverage climb from below 20 per cent to almost 80 per cent across the developing world.

“Many more millions of children were also protected from lifelong disability.

“The Kennedy Moment gives an entirely fictional account how and why the great advance came about.”

Mr Adamson said Mr Grant was diagnosed with cancer at the beginning of the 1990s but in his last year of life ‘travelled tens of thousands of miles and held face-to-face meetings with over 40 presidents and prime ministers’.

By 1995, when Mr Grant died, many of those targets had been achieved.

Mr Adamson founded New Internationalist magazine, now based in Oxford, with wife Lesley in 1973.

Mr Adamson was senior adviser to the executive director of UNICEF

For 15 years until 1995 Mr Adamson was responsible for writing the annual State of the World’s Children report, UNICEF’s first and continuing flagship publication.

He and his wife Lesley received the UNICEF UK Anniversary Award for Services to Children.