Allah's Fire

( 12 )


Two Dangerous Missions Collide with Explosive Results

A suicide bomber blows up a hotel in Beirut, killing hundreds of people. A young American woman is kidnapped in Lebanon by terrorists. Connected or coincidence? Despite the government’s difficulty in locating her sister, Liz Fairchild, a reporter from the States, is determined to find her…regardless of the risks. Meanwhile, Sergeant John Cooper and his elite Special Ops team hunt down Palestinian extremists in possession of a...

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Allah's Fire

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Two Dangerous Missions Collide with Explosive Results

A suicide bomber blows up a hotel in Beirut, killing hundreds of people. A young American woman is kidnapped in Lebanon by terrorists. Connected or coincidence? Despite the government’s difficulty in locating her sister, Liz Fairchild, a reporter from the States, is determined to find her…regardless of the risks. Meanwhile, Sergeant John Cooper and his elite Special Ops team hunt down Palestinian extremists in possession of a new undetectable explosive that will change the “face of terror.” When Liz and Task Force Valor’s paths intersect, more is at risk than their separate missions. While maneuvering through hostile territory, Liz and John realize they need each other to survive. Their antagonism gradually gives way to cooperation—and something more.

Task Force Valor

Explosive Ordnance Disposal—The Bomb Squad

As the global war on terror heats up, the U.S. needs a team of highly trained special operators to deploy overseas to locate and neutralize threats, bringing EOD expertise to the dirty, deadly missions that have no room for error. For the men of Task Force Valor—life is a blast.

A lethal new weapon.

Master Sergeant John Cooper and his Special Ops team of explosives-hunters have a mission unlike any they’ve ever experienced before. A new undetectable type of explosive has burst onto the scene, and it will change the “face of terror” in the world. Washington wants the manufacturers shut down before it turns up on American soil.

A missing sister.

A suicide bomber blows up a hotel in Beirut. Liz Fairchild, an American reporter, searches for her sister, Julie, who is presumed dead in the blast…until Liz uncovers evidence she might be alive. When signs indicate that time is running out for Julie, Liz is determined to find her—regardless of the risks.

A stealthy escape.

As their separate objectives bring John and Liz together, the path ahead takes twists neither of them counted on. Although God works in all things for the good of those who love Him, God’s definition of good might not match theirs. When the mission goes south and politics intrude on their plans, the team must rely on their wits—and guts—to survive. Can they make it…with a wounded team member and a female civilian in tow?

Story Behind the Book

“I met Chuck Holton a few years ago when he took my fiction classes at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. I enjoyed him because my life experience is so different from his. When it was time to develop a new fiction series, I thought it would be fun to combine his military background with my civilian background and write a series right out of today’s headlines. He has basically written the male points of view, and I’ve done the female. Very challenging and great fun!”

—Gayle Roper

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590524053
  • Publisher: The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/3/2006
  • Series: Task Force Valor Series, #1
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 1,093,865
  • Product dimensions: 5.23 (w) x 8.23 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Meet the Author

Gayle Roper

Gayle Roper has always been a story lover and has written more than thirty-five books. She has received numerous awards, and her articles have appeared in a number of periodicals including Discipleship Journal and Moody magazine. She enjoys speaking at writers’ conferences and women’s events, reading, and eating out. She adores her kids and grandkids and loves her own personal patron of the arts, her husband, Chuck (Roper, not Holton).

Chuck Holton

Chuck Holton is originally from Carson City, Nevada. He joined the army upon graduation from high school and served four years as an Airborne Ranger. After completing his enlistment, he moved to Wisconsin to go to college and fly helicopters for the National Guard. With his wife, Connie, he lives in West Virginia, where he now writes and speaks full time, and enjoys working around their farm and raising their six children.

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Read an Excerpt



Multnomah Publishers

Copyright © 2006 Charles W. Holton and Gayle Roper
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1-59052-405-5

Chapter One

Abidjan, Ivory Coast

MASTER SERGEANT JOHN COOPER ran a hand through his sweaty dark hair and wondered if he'd live to see another sunset.

"You're sure this will work, Frank?" he asked the team's dark-haired explosives expert, pushing the negative thought from his mind.

"What I'm sure of, Coop, is that over one hundred children will be forcibly converted into particulate matter in less than an hour if we don't try this. That is, unless someone has a better idea."

John and Sergeant First Class Frank Baldwin both looked across the hood of their Humvee at their commander, waiting to see if he did indeed have a better idea.

Major Louis Williams stared past the two soldiers at the rusty swing set between him and the school compound. His face showed little emotion, except for a firmly clenched jaw. He said nothing for a full twenty seconds.

John's eyebrows shot up. "Well, sir?"

Williams picked up his Motorola radio and growled into it, "What have you got, Dan?"

Dan Daly, the team's sniper, answered from his observation point on the roof of an apartment building across the street from the school complex. "The leader hasn't moved. I can't tell for sure, but it looks like the sick kid they released this morning was telling the truthabout the setup inside."

John looked at his watch. Forty-seven minutes. "If we're going to try Frank's plan, we'd better make it quick."

Major Williams turned to Frank. "Explain this thing to me again." He gestured to the cylindrical metal object lying on the hood of the Humvee. "It looks like an artillery shell casing."

Frank sighed, then spoke as one would to a slow child. "It's a miniature e-bomb, sir. Basically, it's a small Flux Compression Generator, or FCG, which is a copper tube packed with explosives, surrounded by a coil of heavy copper wire. The wire is charged with electricity just before the explosive is detonated, which creates a ramping pulse of electrical current equivalent to maybe ten or twenty bolts of lightning. That should be enough of an EMP to inhibit the use of the enemy's detonators."

Major Williams stared at him. "You're speaking English, Baldwin. I know you are. It's just not the same English I speak."

John bit back a grin. Granted Frank drove him nuts sometimes with his smarter-than-thou routine, but it had to be hard being a genius.

"I think what he's trying to say is, this thing will create an energy pulse that will toast the bad guys' toys without damaging the building or the schoolchildren. The sick kid said that he saw explosives duct taped to the concrete pillars and wall supports on the first floor, with wires running to a mat the terrorists brought in with them. It looks like the floor mat out of a car, but it has a plate of sheet metal on it. The terrorists are taking turns standing on the plate, never completely stepping off of it."

The major nodded. "So that must be the detonator. And these yahoos are trying to foil our snipers by setting it up so if they get knocked down, the whole place blows. And you're saying this e-bomb will disable their explosives?"

"Not the bombs, sir. Just the circuitry in the detonators."

"What if they have backup methods in place?"

"We have to assume that they do," Frank said. "But this thing will instantly render everything electronic inoperative. Batteries will malfunction, wires will melt, lightbulbs will explode. The only way they could light their demo after the e-bomb goes off is with a manual nonelectric detonator, like a time fuse. Which is why we'll need to assault the building immediately once the FCG detonates."

"And be sure to use a manual detonator for our own breach," John said.

The major rubbed the back of his neck and grimaced. "Have you tested this device?"

John looked at Frank, whose smarts appeared to fail him for a moment as he hesitated, then cleared his throat. "Well, not exactly, sir. The Army successfully used several larger devices like this on bases around Iraq during the initial invasion in 2003. This one is just ... um ... smaller."

The major, an ex-linebacker from Auburn University, picked up the device and turned it over in his hands like a football. "Where did you get it, Frank?"

He cleared his throat again. "I built it."

Williams nearly fumbled the thing. "You what?"

John almost laughed at the major's expression. Frank was an acquired taste, always having a newer and better way of doing things. Sometimes he was even right.

"Well, I assembled it, anyway." Frank stared at the bomb like a man might gaze upon a beautiful woman. "I used the first stage FCG and capacitors from a low-frequency Mark-eighty-four e-bomb the Air Force ... um ... wasn't using."

The major slapped his Kevlar-helmeted forehead. "I'm going to get fired."

John spoke up. "He didn't steal it, sir. It fell off a forklift at the ammo supply point at Bragg back in January, and they were going to destroy it as potentially damaged. Frank talked them into letting us have it. He's carried it with him on our last two deployments, waiting for an opportunity to try it out."

Williams spat on the ground. "Well, I don't see what other choice we have. If we go in hot and one of the terrorists falls off of his magic carpet, we lose. They've promised to blow the place unless all French and UN peacekeepers leave the country, which ain't gonna happen." He checked his watch. "So in forty-four minutes, we lose. Unless ..."

He set the cylinder back on the vehicle's hood and looked toward the high cement wall surrounding the school building. "It looks like we're fourth down and fifteen and plum out of options. But how do you propose getting the e-bomb inside the building?"

"Oh, we don't need to, sir," Frank said. "That's what's so great about it. It can be detonated anywhere within a hundred meters of the school." He hesitated for a moment. "Which reminds me. There might be a few, er, side effects."

The major's gaze narrowed. "Like what?"

John bit the inside of his cheek to keep that smile contained.

"Like anything electronic in the area will also be cooked," Frank said.


"Pretty much."

Williams didn't immediately answer, and John leaned against the Humvee, scanning the ramshackle neighborhood that surrounded the school. This part of Abidjan was predominantly Christian, but lately Muslim rebels from the north had been sowing terror here. As if these people's poverty wasn't miserable enough.

John'd been all over the world in his years in the Special Forces, and except for the language on the road signs and business signs, this could be any third-world city. They all shared a certain sense of despair, as if the people who labored to construct these rickety dwellings started out with good intentions but at some point were simply overwhelmed by the Law of Entropy and gave up.

The more places like this John visited, the more he appreciated the hopefulness he felt when he was back home. America was the land of optimism, whether its people realized it or not.

He studied the two-story cinderblock homes lining the trash-strewn street in front of the school. Most had corrugated metal roofs and no glass in their windows. Concrete walls around some dwellings showed graffiti in French and Arabic, as well as numerous pockmarks from previous violence.

The French peacekeepers were holding all civilians behind barricades they had set up two blocks away. How many of those people lived in these houses and had children in the school, their kids' lives in the hands of men willing to kill themselves to earn Allah's approval through martyrdom?

How can You let kids be treated like this, God? They're so powerless. You're supposed to protect them, aren't You?

The major nodded abruptly and reached for his radio. "I can handle a few burnt-out lightbulbs if we save the lives of a hundred elementary school kids."

Frank's smile was brilliant.

The major gestured toward the hardened troop transport vehicle the team had brought with them on the mission. "Frank, have the boys put anything that might get wrecked in the back of the Cougar HEV transport over there. Radios, night-vision goggles-everything electronic. Have all other vehicles pull back far enough so their components won't get fried. We might end up buying new televisions for everyone in the neighborhood, but I'm not having the rest of our whiz-bang gear taken out if I can help it. John, keep one radio for yourself in case we have to abort."

Frank scooped up his e-bomb and trotted off toward the vehicles. The major turned back to the schematics of the school laid out over the hood of the Humvee.

"Okay, John. Get your breach team in position on the south wall. Once we blow that ... er ... thing, you'll need to hit the school quick before the bad guys figure out what's happened. If they realize we've killed their electronics, they just might resort to blowing this thing the old-fashioned way-if they don't shoot all the kids first, the rotten cowards!" He spoke the last two words with enough volume to be heard across the street.

Cowards was a good word. Grown people who went after kids were cowards. Bullies. What kind of worldview held that murdering a hundred innocent schoolchildren was the path to heaven, but touching a piece of bacon could get you damned eternally? John wasn't even sure he wanted to understand it.

On the other hand, there were people back in the States with similar philosophies-groups who believed that bombing abortion clinics scored them points with God, but owning a Rolling Stones CD was a ticket to hell. Go figure.

John didn't consider himself an expert on the Lord by any stretch, but something inside him knew that a vindictive and unjust God wasn't worth the title.

But those were questions for chaplains and clerics. At the moment, John had time for neither. If God wasn't going to keep kids and the other innocents of the world safe, he and his men would do it.

He consulted his watch again. "We've got fifteen minutes." He keyed the Motorola. "Dan, get ready. We're going for it."


Excerpted from ALLAH'S FIRE by CHUCK HOLTON GAYLE ROPER Copyright © 2006 by Charles W. Holton and Gayle Roper. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 12 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 11, 2012

    highly recommended

    I have read nearly all of Gayle Roper's books. This one really kept me on the edge of my seat...many exciting twists and turns! This was a good parallel to the times we live in--with terrorists and the Middle East, and Special Forces. Chuck Holton and Gayle Roper handled it well. Keep up the writing Gayle, I love your books!


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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2012

    Action packed adventure!

    This story starts out with a lot of action. Wonderful story line, a little romance and a lot of adventure. Further books in the series are authored by Chuck Holton.

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  • Posted June 21, 2011

    Must read!!!

    Couldn't stop reading this book. If you like action, suspense, and a little romance, you will love it!!!

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  • Posted January 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Straight from the evening news

    Liz and her sister Julie are two Americans that live in Lebanon. When the building that Julie was attending a party at is destroyed by a bomb, Liz goes on a mission to find her after finding evidence that she may still be alive. Meanwhile John is a member of a special ops team sent to Beruit to find Palestinian extremists who have discovered a new way to threaten terror in the region. John and Liz's lives intertwine as they try to find Julie and prevent the terrorists from instigating more fear into the lives of the people there. The story is non stop action throughout, an edge of your seat reality read. While reading this book, I felt like I was watching the evening news. Everything seemed so real and action packed. The situations the characters got themselves in could be ripped right out of the headlines. At first John's story felt a little boring to me with all the military talk and I wanted to get back to Liz's and Julie's story. However as I got more into the book, I enjoyed reading from both angles. I thought it was very interesting learning more about the Arab and Muslim culture. Many Americans don't really understand the religion and get only a one sided view on it. By explaining customs and rituals, the reader is able to have a better understanding of that side of the world. I also liked how the explanation of the way women are viewed in that world. As westerners, it's hard to understand why women would allow men to treat them the way they do in Arab countries. I appreciated that while Liz is an American, her character is used to the customs of the country because she grew up there. She does not act like a fish out of water or have scenes displaying ignorance. This book is recommended for those who like action stories, stories that could have happened, or interested in what life is like in the Middle East.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2006

    Gets Your Attention and Keeps It!

    My life right now doesn't leave much room for recreational reading (even though I love to read), but I started this book and couldn't let it alone until I finished. Excellently portrayed military action intersperses with compassionate portrayal of tough issues pervasive to the Middle East. The relationships between the characters are realistic and thoroughly enjoyable. And the insight into the terrorist mindset is quite chilling. Great start to a new series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2006

    Exciting Middle-Eastern and American Characters

    Current events, mystery, romance, action, patriotism, a bit of humor and never-boring detail fill this can't-put-it-down novel. Characters are realistic and the story-line compelling. All reading adults will enjoy this and like me, be watching for the sequel(s). Highly recommended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2006

    Exciting read!

    Allah¿s Fire by Chuck Holton and Gayle Roper is a real thriller from start to finish. With romance and intrigue, terror and terrorism, this well written first novel of the Task Force Valor series has it all, taking the reader on a wild ride that spans continents and lifestyles. Highly recommended!

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    fabulous inspirational romantic thriller

    After being severely injured in the Ivory Coast due to stopping to help a woman in labor whose father performed an honor kill, Special Ops Explosives Ordinance Detachment Master Sergeant John Cooper recovers at Fort Bragg. At about the same time at the Hotel Rowena in Beirut, a suicide bomber decides not to set off his liquidly devices because so many of those in attendance are innocent Palestinians, but the bottles are jostled and a fiery explosion occurs that kills many. Reporter Liz Fairchild originally believed her sister Julie Assan, married to a local, died in the blast, but soon finds evidence otherwise. The mastermind behind the suicide bombing Imad Hazari abducted Julie as proof that his group committed the ¿freedom¿ act in the name of Allah. John and his EOD unit head to Lebanon to capture terrorists with an undetectable bomb at the same time Liz begins her quest to rescue her sibling. When the true believer Liz and the doubter John meet, they argue over her insistence of finding her sister and the presence of God in their lives as they search for the same terrorist. P ALLAH¿S FIRE is a fabulous inspirational romantic thriller that provides readers with an insightful look at the hypocrisy of those who claim God as the rationale to kill whether that is an honor kill, a blowing up of an abortion clinic, or a suicide bombing. What is really interesting is the contrast between Liz and John. She turns to God for comfort while the doubter rejects a violent creator as not worthy of his adulation. The first task Force Valor novel is fast-paced from start to finish, but also contains a strong message that God is benevolent even if free will enables people to use his name to rationalize atrocities. P Harriet Klausner

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    Posted November 5, 2010

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    Posted March 23, 2011

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    Posted April 15, 2011

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    Posted July 13, 2011

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