Against All Enemies

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When fear becomes a weapon...When a few good men go bad...America will be consumed by the fire that burns within.

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Overview

When fear becomes a weapon...When a few good men go bad...America will be consumed by the fire that burns within.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Mixing high- and low-tech espionage, Air Force missions and politics into a credible and exciting plot with attractive characters and breakneck action, Herman's latest (after Power Curve, 1997) is a sure winner. When a Sudanese terrorist group is discovered to be almost capable of dispersing the Ebola virus ("the poor man's atomic bomb"), two Americans are sent on a secret B-2 mission to destroy the underground Sudanese lab--then are captured, tortured and almost certainly doomed. At the same time, in Missouri, Bradley Jefferson, an outstanding, African American Muslim Air Force captain, is charged with having passed mission details to the enemy. Trial lawyer and Air Force Reservist Hank Sutherland is recalled to active duty to prosecute Jefferson and is almost immediately plunged into a complex swirl of suspicious characters and conflicting motives. Adding nightclub strippers, FBI agents, a ruthless demagogue with sights on the presidency and a mysterious presidential adviser with a big, smart computer at his disposal, Herman keeps all of his plots spinning and readers of military adventure on the edge of their seats. (Aug.) FYI: Avon will simultaneously publish Power Curve in paperback.
Library Journal
Look for major advertising for this new thriller from Herman, a member of the USAF for 21 years and author of the successful Power Curve (LJ 4/15/97). Here, a court martial after the crash of a B-2 bomber gets complicated.
Kirkus Reviews
Former Air Force major Herman (most recently, Power Curve, 1997, about the first woman president of the US) produces realistic suspense tales that some call "thinking man's" thrillers that out-Clancy Clancy. Here, a military mission goes sour when an American B-2 bomber loaded with high-tech goodies fails in its attack on a Sudanese biological weapons plant and the crew is captured. Back in California at the ironically named Whiteman Air Force Base, an African-American (and Muslim) Air Force captain, Bradley Jefferson, is cast as scapegoat, charged with espionage, and readied for court-martial. Taking advantage of this trial is demagogue Jonathan Meredith, head of the superpatriotric First Brigade, who fancies himself an American Caesar and is running for President. His heroism during the Oklahoma Cityþstyle bombing of the new San Francisco Shopping Emporium (and his angry comments following the disaster) have given him great cachet, even though he's leading the country into a racial war. Government prosecutor Hank Sutherland looks likely to convict the Air Force captain, though Jefferson is defended by a famous defense lawyer. Echoes of the Dreyfus case abound, while legal issues stitch together much of the novelþs high tensions. Herman has a distinctive beat to his wickedly adroit military thrillers whose firestorms are averted only at the last second.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380787876
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/28/1999
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 512

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

5:50 P.m., Thursday, March 4,The White House, Washington, D.C.

Three men clustered around the TV in the President's private office in the west wing. The sound was turned low and the voice of the reporter at the scene was only a murmur. The grisly image on the screen said more than any words could describe. The President hit the remote control and turned off the sound. The silence was complete as the men continued to stare at the screen. "Do they have a casualty count yet?" the President finally asked.

Kyle Broderick, the chief of staff, picked up the phone and asked the same question. He didn't like the answer. Broderick was a young man, hard and street savvy, who delighted in using the power that went with being the President's chief of staff. "I want a hard number in the next five minutes or you're history." He punched off the connection and turned to the President. "Sorry, sir. Everyone seems asleep at the wheel." Almost immediately, the phone rang. Broderick picked it up and listened. He hung up without saying a word. "The initial count is over two hundred and rising fast," he told the President.

"You'll have to go there," the Vice President said to the President. He was a handsome man who had his eye on the presidency in five years. But first, they had to survive the upcoming election. He looked at his watch "Time your arrival for early in the morning while it's still dark. Make it look like you've been up all night. We'll work the networks at this end and have you lead the morning news."

The President nodded in agreement. Again, they staredat the TV. The silence was broken by the distinctive beat of a helicopter's rotor as the aircraft settled to earth on the South Lawn. "That must be Nelson," the President said. A few minutes later, the door opened and a stocky man with thinning brown hair was ushered in. Nelson Durant was fifty-four, and his rumpled clothes gave no clue about who, or what, he was. He was average looking in the extreme and could disappear into a crowd with ease. His image shouted "wimp" but his blue eyes carried a far different message. "Thanks for coming so quickly," the President said. The Vice President moved over so Nelson Durant could sit next to the President.

"Have you seen the TV coverage on the bombing?" Broderick asked.

The answer was obvious and Nelson Durant ignored the question. Besides, Broderick wasn't worth his time. "What can I do for you, Mr. President?" Durant asked.

"We need quick answers on this one," the Presidentreplied. "Can you help?"

Durant ran a hand through his thinning hair. For those who knew him, it was a warning gesture that he was wasting his time and had better things to do. "If you're referring to the Project, we're still a month away from startup and then we're looking at another year before coming on-line."

The President looked disappointed. The Project was a highly advanced intelligence-gathering computer system that one of Durant's many companies was developing for the National Security Agency. If the Project lived up to Durant's promises, it could find and track any foreign or terrorist threat targeting the United States.

"But I'll have my people check into it," Durant said.

The President looked pleased. Durant's worldwide business contacts gave him an intelligence database that rivaled the CIA's. A discreet knock stopped him from saying more. Broderick opened the door and Stephan Serick, the National Security Advisor, stomped in.

"You need to see this," Serick said, holding up a videocassette. Stephan Serick's childhood Latvian accent was still strong, and the basset hound jowls, heavy limp, and twisted cane were famous trademarks of the man who had served under two presidents of different political parties. "Communications took it off a satellite feed." He collapsed into a chair while Broderick fed the cassette into the TV. "A tourist filmed it. Damned videos."

At first, the scene was a repeat of what they had seen before; the huge crater in Market Street, the mangled cars and the gaping hole that once was the façade of the San Francisco Shopping Emporium. Serick shuddered. "They even got BART." BART was the Bay Area Rapid Transit subway that ran under Market Street. Then the scene on the TV changed as the tourist ran through the debris following a fireman. The camera jolted to a stop and focused on a man emerging from a cloud of dust and debris, his clothes smoking. He was carrying an unconscious girl in his arms.

"That's Meredith," Serick muttered. They watched as Meredith handed the woman to the fireman, his face racked with anguish.

"Just like Oklahoma City," Durant said in a low voice. On the screen, Meredith collapsed to his knees, panting hard. A blanket was thrown over his shoulders.

A voice from off screen said, "My God, the man's a real hero."

Meredith looked up, his lean, handsome face ravaged. He pointed to four firemen wearing respirators descending into the smoke billowing from the underground BART station. "There's your real heroes." He struggled to his feet. "I had to do something. . . . I was there." The tape ended.

"Son of a bitch!" Broderick roared. Then more calmly, "Would you care to guess when this will hit the air?"

"About the time the President lands in San Francisco," the Vice President replied. Meredith was going to preempt the President's arrival on the morning news.

Broderick looked at Durant. "Can you stop it?"

"I don't see how," Durant replied.

"Well," Broderick said, "Meredith is your boy."

Durant's face turned to granite. Kyle Broderick, arguably the second most powerful man in the United States government, had overstepped his bounds. Durant's next words were spoken quietly. "Nothing could be further from the truth." Durant was seething at the suggestion he would have anything to do with Meredith. He stood up to leave.

Against All Enemies. Copyright © by Richard Herman. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2003

    Against All Enemies by Richard Herman

    More like 2 and and a half stars would be an appropiate rating. In Richard Herman's eighth novel, a B-2 is sent to destroy a chemical weapons plant in Sudan, but the mission goes wrong and results in the B-2 pilots being captured and an Air Force officer back in the US going on trial for supposedly having leaked information of the mission. Overall, this was a rather dispointing book from Herman who is capable of writing a lot better stuff then this. The only portion of the book that really sustained my interest was a subplot involving the Army's Delta Force mounting a rescue operation to get the pilots out. The rest was very slow paced and seemed to drag on. Very little attention or characterization is given to the main character, a government prosecuter, or any others for the most part, and there is the ridiculous inclusion of a 'super computer'. Read Force of Eagles, Firebreak, or Edge of Honor instead, all far superior Herman books.

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