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Combat, Volume 1

Combat, Volume 1

2.5 2
by Stephen Coonts, Larry Bond, Dale Brown, David Hagberg

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An historic landmark work, depicting war as it is and soon will be-the shape of war to come.

Featuring new short novels by:

Larry Bond, who explores the wild frontier of space warfare, where American forces fight a tenacious enemy which threatens every free nation on Earth.

Dale Brown, taking us into the seldom-seen world of the


An historic landmark work, depicting war as it is and soon will be-the shape of war to come.

Featuring new short novels by:

Larry Bond, who explores the wild frontier of space warfare, where American forces fight a tenacious enemy which threatens every free nation on Earth.

Dale Brown, taking us into the seldom-seen world of the military review board, and shows us how the future career of an EB-52 Megafortress pilot can depend on a man he's never met.

And David Hagberg, who brings us another Kirk McGarvey adventure, in which the C.I.A. director becomes entangled in the rising tensions between China and Taiwan. When a revolutionary leader is rescued from a Chinese prison, the Chinese government pushes the United States to the brink of war, and McGarvey has to make a choice with the fate of the world hanging in the balance.

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Editor Coonts (Flight of the Intruder, etc.) has gathered an impressive group of techno-thriller authors for this testosterone-laden anthology. Ten original short novels by Dale Brown, Larry Bond, Harold Coyle, R.J. Pineiro, David Hagberg, Dean Ing and others, plus one by Coonts himself, feature aerial combat over the Gulf of Oman, a super-secret space cannon, nuclear brinkmanship and a bunch of retired pilots in a jet dogfight over California. Occasionally heavy on the technology and gore, these John-and-Jane-Wayne-meet-Star-Wars tales offer a chilling glimpse into warfare in the 21st century. The most successful focus not on weird military technology, but on the men and women who must actually fight. Coonts's own story, "Al Jihad," pits a retired Marine sniper and a mysterious female pilot against terrorists in the Sahara Desert with a delightful final plot twist. James Cobb's "Cav" suggests that even in the year 2035, modern warfare will still rely on the courage and resourcefulness of the ordinary infantryman. In "There Is No War in Melnica," Ralph Peters offers a frightening and gruesome look at the ethnic slaughter in Kosovo as seen through the horrified eyes of a kidnapped U.S. Army officer. Best of all is Ing's tightly wrapped tale, "Inside Job," which is a masterful detective mystery with a private eye, a bounty hunter and an FBI agent all investigating a peculiar cargo ship and a missing sailor in San Francisco. (Jan. 2) Forecast: Anthologies of original novellas have a checkered sales record, but if the publisher emphasizes the superstar lineup and properly targets the book to the pro-military crowd, the book should engage bestseller lists, particularly down the road in paperback. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
This trio of novellas describe an interesting array of combat and military scenarios. Ranging from "black bag" operations to combat in space, these works, as is the norm in current military fiction, are heavy with details of equipment and technology. The first selection, Coonts's "al'Jihad," is by far the most interesting and entertaining. A wealthy young woman, whose Marine colonel father along with her mother were killed by Arab terrorists, hires one of his former snipers to help her "take out" those responsible. Told from the vantage point of the former sniper, this piece has a delightful plot twist. Dale Brown's "Leadership Material" portrays the workings of a military review board, composed of officers who decide which of their comrades deserve a promotion based only on a personnel file with recommendations, a photo, and their own instincts. R.J. Pineiro's "Flight of Endeavour" depicts combat at the International Space Station, with its powerful UN-controlled weaponry, taken over by a scientist assisting the Chechen freedom fighters. The characters in these tales are a bit flat, but the action is exciting. Bruno Oliver's performance in all three is up to the task. His resonant voice is quite expressive with the dialog, although his Iranian and Russian accents sound rather similar. Fans of military/action-adventure should be satisfied with this production. Suitable for popular collections as well as those serving a military clientele. Michael T. Fein, Central Virginia Community Coll., Lynchburg Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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Read an Excerpt

Combat, Volume 1

By Larry Bond, Dale Brown, David Hagberg, Stephen Coonts

Tom Doherty Associates

Copyright © 2001 Stephen Coonts
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-4200-3


Unespected Losses

San Diego, California

September 16, 2010

Ray McConnell was watching the front door for new arrivals, but he would have noticed her anyway. Long straight black hair, in her late twenties, casually dressed but making jeans and a knit top look very good. He didn't know her, and was putting a question together when he saw Jim Naguchi follow her in. Oh, that's how she knew.

Ray stood up, still keeping one eye on the screens, and greeted the couple. The woman was staring at the wall behind Ray, and he caught the tail end of her comment. "... why you're never at home when I call."

Jim Naguchi answered her, "Third time this week," then took Ray's offered hand. "Hi, Ray, this is Jennifer Oh. We met at that communications conference two weeks ago — the one in San Francisco."

As Ray took Jennifer's hand, she said, "Just Jenny, please," smiling warmly.

"Jenny's in the Navy, Ray. She's a computer specialist ..."

"Which means almost anything these days," McConnell completed. "Later we'll try to trick you into telling us what you really do."

Jenny looked a little uncomfortable, even as she continued to stare. Changing his tone a little, Ray announced, "Welcome to the McConnell Media Center, the largest concentration of guy stuff in captivity."

"I believe it," she answered. "Those are Sony Image Walls, aren't they? I've got a twenty-four-incher at home."

McConnell half turned to face the Wall. "These are the same, still just an inch thick. But larger," he said modestly.

"And four of them?" she said.

Every new guest had to stop and stare. The living room of Ray's ranch house was filled with electronic equipment, but the focus of the room was the four four-by-eight flat-screen video panels. He'd removed the frames and placed them edge to edge, covering one entire wall of his living room with an eight-foot-by-sixteen-foot video screen — "the Wall."

Just then it was alive with flickering color images. Ray pointed to different areas on the huge surface. "We've set up the center with a map of the China-Vietnam border. We've got subwindows," Ray said, pointing them out, "for five of the major TV networks. That larger text subwindow has the orders of battle for the Vietnamese and Chinese and U.S. forces in the region."

He pointed to a horseshoe-shaped couch in the center of the room, filled with people. "The controls are at that end of the couch, and I've got two dedicated processors controlling the displays."

"So is this how the media keeps track of an international crisis?" Jennifer asked.

"Maybe." Ray shrugged, and looked at Jim Naguchi, who also shrugged. "I dunno. We're engineers, not reporters."

"With a strong interest in foreign affairs," she responded.

"True," he added, "like everyone else here." He swept his arm wide to include the other guests. Half a dozen other people watched the screens, talked, or argued.

"There's people from the military, like you, and professionals from a lot of fields. We get together at times like this to share information and viewpoints."

"And watch the game," she added. Her tone was friendly, but a little critical as well.

"That window's got the pool on the kickoff times," Ray answered, smiling and indicating another area filled with text and numbers. "Most of the money is on local dawn, in" — he glanced at his watch — "an hour or so."

"And I brought munchies," Naguchi added, holding up a grocery bag.

"On the counter, Jim, like always," Ray responded. One side of the living room was a waist-high counter, covered with a litter of drinks and snacks.

"It's my way of feeling like I have some control over my life, Jenny. If we know what's going on, we don't feel so helpless." He shrugged at his inadequate explanation. "Knowledge is Power. Come on, I'll introduce you around. This is a great place to network."

Raising his voice just a little, he announced, "People, this is Jenny Oh. Navy. She's here with Jim." Everyone waved or nodded to her, but most kept their attention on the Wall.

McConnell pointed to a fortyish man in a suit. "That's Jim Garber. He's with McDonnell Douglas. The guy next to him is Marty Duvall, a C coder at a software house. Bob Reeves is a Marine." Ray smiled. "He's also the founding member of the 'Why isn't it Taiwan?' Foundation."

"I'm still looking for new members," the Marine answered. Lean, and tall even sitting down, with close-cropped black hair, he explained, "I keep thinking this is some sort of elaborate deception, and while we're looking at China's southern border, she's going to suddenly zig east, leap across the straits, and grab Taiwan."

"But there's no sign of any naval activity west of Hong Kong," Jenny countered, pointing to the map. "The action's all been inland, close to the border. I'm not in intelligence," she warned, "but everything I've heard say it's all pointed at Vietnam ..."

"Over ten divisions and a hundred aircraft," Garber added. "That's INN's count this morning, using their own imaging satellites."

"But why Vietnam at all?" countered Reeves. "They're certainly not a military threat."

"But they are an economic one," replied Jenny. "They're another country that's trading communism for capitalism, and succeeding. The increased U.S. financial investment makes Beijing even more nervous."

Ray McConnell smiled, pleased as any host. The new arrival was fitting in nicely, and she certainly improved the scenery. He walked behind to the counter into the kitchen and started neatening up, trashing empty bags of chips and soda bottles. Naguchi was still laying his snacks on the counter.

"She's a real find, Jim," McConnell offered. "Not the same one as last week, though?"

"Well, things didn't work out." Naguchi admitted. "Laura wanted me to have more space. Like Mars." He grinned.

"Where's she stationed?"

"All she'll tell me is NAVAIR," Naguchi replied. "She knows the technology, and she's interested in defense and the military."

"Well, of course, she's in the business," McConnell replied. "She's certainly involved in the discussion." Ray pointed to Jenny, now using the controls to expand part of the map.

"That's how we met," Naguchi explained. "The Vietnam crisis was starting to heat up, and everyone at the conference was talking about it between sessions, of course. She was always in the thick of it, and somewhere in there I mentioned your sessions here."

"So this is your first date?" Ray grinned.

"I hope so," Naguchi answered hopefully. "I'm trying to use color and motion to attract the female."

"Ray! You've got a call." A tall African-American man was waving to Ray. McConnell hurried into the living room, picked up the handset from its cradle, and hit the VIEW button. Part of the Wall suddenly became an image of an older man, overweight and balding, in front of a mass of books. Glasses perched on his nose, seemingly defying gravity. "Good ... evening, Ray."

"Dave Douglas. Good to see you, sir. You're up early in the morning." The United Kingdom was eight hours ahead of California. It was five in the morning in Portsmouth.

"Up very late, you mean. I see you've one of your gatherings. I thought you'd like to know we've lost the signals for two of your GPS satellites."

Naguchi, who'd moved next to Jennifer, explained. "Mr. Douglas is head of the Space Observer Group. They're hobbyists, mostly in Britain, who track satellites visually and electronically. Think high-tech bird-watchers."

"I've heard of them," she answered, nodding, "and of Douglas. Your friend knows him?" She sounded impressed.

Naguchi replied, "Ray's got contacts all over."

Jennifer nodded again, trying to pick up the conversation at the same time.

"... verified Horace's report about an hour ago. It was number seventeen, a relatively new bird, but anything mechanical can fail. I normally wouldn't think it worth more than a note, but then Horace called back and said another one's gone down as well, and quite soon after the first one."

"Why was Horace looking at the GPS satellite signals?" McConnell asked.

"Horace collects electronic signals. He's writing a piece on the GPS signal structure for the next issue of our magazine."

Ray looked uncertain, even a little worried. "Two failures is a little unusual, isn't it?" It was a rhetorical question.

Douglas sniffed. "GPS satellites don't fail, Raymond. You've only had two go down since the system was established twenty-five years ago. By the way, both satellites are due over southern China in less than an hour."

Ray could only manage a "What?" but Douglas seemed to understand his query. "I'm sending you a file with the orbital data for the constellation in it. I've marked numbers seventeen and twenty-two. They're the one's who've failed." He paused for a moment, typing. "There ... you have it now."

"Thank you, Dave. I'll get back to you if we can add anything to what you've found." Ray broke the connection, then grabbed his data tablet.

While McConnell worked with the system, speculation filled the conversation. "... so we turned off two of the birds ourselves. Deny them to the Chinese," Reeves suggested.

"If so, why only two?" countered Jenny.

"And the most accurate signal's encrypted anyway," added Garber. "The Chinese can only use civilian GPS."

"Which still gives them an asset they wouldn't otherwise have," reminded Reeves.

"Unless the Chinese have broken the encryption," countered Duvall.

"But we need GPS even more," said Garber. "It's not just navigation, it's weapons guidance and command and control."

Jennifer added, "All of our aircraft mission planning uses GPS now. If we had to go back, it would be a lot harder to run a coordinated attack. We could never get the split-second timing we can now."

"Here's the orbital data," McConnell announced.

The smaller windows on the Wall all vanished, leaving the map showing southern China and Vietnam. A small bundle of curved lines appeared in the center, then expanded out to fill the map, covering the area with orbital tracks. As Ray moved the cursor on his data pad, the cursor moved on the map. When it rested on a track, a tag appeared, naming the satellite and providing orbital and other data. Two of the tracks were red, not white, and were marked with small boxes with a time in them.

"Where are the satellites right now?" someone asked.

Ray tapped the tablet and small diamonds appeared on all the tracks, showing their current positions.

"Can you move them to where they'd be at local dawn for Hanoi?" suggested Garber.

"And what's the horizon for those satellites at Mengzi?" Jennifer prompted, pointing to a town just north of the Chinese-Vietnamese border. "That's one of the places the Chinese are supposed to be massing."

"Stand by," answered Ray. "That's not built in. I'll have to do the math and draw it." He worked quickly, and in absolute silence. After about two minutes, an oval drawn in red appeared on the map, centered on the location. Everyone counted, but Ray spoke first. "I count three."

"... and you need four for a fix," finished Naguchi.

National Military Command Center, The Pentagon September 17

"... and without the GPS, General Hyde had to issue a recall." The assistant J-3 looked uncomfortable, as only a colonel can look when giving bad news to a room full of four-star generals.

The meeting had originally been scheduled to review results of the first day's strikes in Operation CERTAIN FORCE. A total of eighty-three targets in China had been programmed to be hit by 150 combat aircraft and almost two hundred cruise missiles. It hadn't happened.

"The gap in coverage was only twenty minutes," Admiral Kramer complained. "Are we so inflexible that we couldn't delay the operation until we had full coverage?"

"It would have meant issuing orders to hundreds of units through two levels of command," answered General Michael Warner. Chief of Staff of the Air Force, it was one of his men, General Tim Hyde, who was Joint Task Force Commander for CERTAIN FORCE. Warner, a slim, handsome man whose hair was still jet-black at sixty, looked more than a little defensive.

"Sounds like 'set-piece-itis' to me," muttered the Army Chief of Staff.

The Chairman, also an Army general, shot his subordinate a "this isn't helping" look and turned back to Warner. The Air Force, through the Fiftieth Space Operations Wing, operated the GPS satellites.

"Mike, have your people found out anything else since this morning?"

"Only that both birds were functioning within norms. Number seventeen was the older bird. They'd recently fired up the third of her four clocks, but she was in good shape. Number twenty-two was still on her first atomic clock. All attempts to restart them, or even communicate with them, have failed. Imaging from our telescopes shows that they're still there, but they're in a slow tumble, which they shouldn't be doing ..."

"And the chance of both of them suffering catastrophic failure is nil," concluded the Chairman.

"Yes sir. The final straw is that we started warm-up procedures on the two reserve birds twenty-eight and twenty-nine. Or rather, we tried to warm them up. They don't answer either."

General Sam Kastner, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, was a thinker, more a listener than a speaker, but he knew he had to take firm charge of the meeting. He sighed, knowing the answer before he started, "What about Intelligence?"

The J-2, or Joint Intelligence officer, was a boyish-looking rear admiral. His normal staff was two or three assistants, but this time he had a small mob of officers and civilians behind him. The admiral moved to the podium.

"Sir, the short answer is that we don't know who did this or how. If we knew who, we could start to guess how they did it. Similarly, knowing how would immediately narrow the list of suspects.

"We know that the DSP infrared satellites detected no launches, and we believe that they also would have detected a laser powerful enough to knock out a GPS bird — although that's not a certainty," he added quickly, nodding to an Army officer with a stern expression on his face.

"The Chinese are the most likely actors, of course, but others can't be ruled out. CIA believes the attack was made by agents on the ground or in cyberspace, but we've detected no signs of this at any of the monitoring stations. The Navy believes they've adapted their space-launch vehicles for the purpose. Although it's a logical proposition, we've seen no sign of the launch, or the considerable effort it would require. And we track their space program quite closely."

The frustration in his voice underlined every word. "It's possible that the Russians or someone else is doing it to assist the Chinese, but there aren't that many candidates, and we've simply seen no sign of activity by any nation, friendly or hostile." He almost threw up his hands.

"Thank you, Admiral," replied Kastner. "Set up a Joint Intelligence Task Force immediately. Until we can at least find out what's being done, we can do nothing, and that includes reliably carry out military operations. Spread your net wide."

He didn't have to say that the media were also spreading their net. Television and the Internet were already full of rumors — the attack had been scheduled but called off for political reasons, that the entire exercise was just a bluff, that the U.S. had backed down because of the risk of excessive casualties, and others more fanciful. U.S. "resolve" had been shattered.

Gongga Shan Mountain Launch Complex, Xichuan Province, Southern China September 23

General Shen Xuesen stood quietly, calmly, watching the bank of monitors, but wishing to be on the surface. He had a better view of the operation from here, but it did not seem as real.

It was their fifth time, and he could see the staff settling down, nowhere as nervous as the first launch, but China was committed now, and her future hung on their success.

Everyone saw the short, solidly built general standing quietly in the gallery. In his early fifties, he'd spent a lot of time in the weather, and it showed. An engineer, he looked capable of reshaping a mountain, and he had Gongga Shan as proof. It was a commander's role to appear calm, even when he knew exactly how many things could go wrong, and how much was at stake, both for him and for China.

Shen had already given his permission to fire. The staff was counting down, waiting until they were in the exact center of the intercept window. The "Dragon's egg" sat in the breech, inert but vital, waiting for just a few more seconds.

The moment came as the master clock stepped down to zero. The launch controller turned a key, and for a moment, the only sign of activity was on the computer displays. Shen's eyes glanced to the breech seals, but the indicators all showed green. He watched the video screen that showed the muzzle, a black oval three meters across.

Even with a muzzle velocity of four thousand meters per second, it took time for the egg to build up to full speed. Almost a full second elapsed between ignition and ...

A puff of smoke and flame appeared on the display, followed by a black streak, briefly visible. Only its size, almost three meters in diameter, allowed it to be seen at all. Shen relaxed, his inward calm now matching his outward demeanor. His gun had worked again.

"Hatching," reported the launch controller. Everyone had so loved the egg metaphor that they used the term to report when the sabots separated from the meter-sized projectile. Designed to hold the small vehicle inside the larger bore, they split and fell away almost instantly. Effectively, the projectile got the boost of three-meter barrel but the drag of a one-meter body.

Speed, always more speed, mused Shen as he watched the monitors. The crews were already boarding buses for their ride up the mountain to inspect the gun. Other screens showed helicopters lifting off to search for the sabots. Although they could not be used again, they were marvels of engineering in their own right and would reveal much about the gun's design.

The goal was eight kilometers a second, orbital velocity. First, take a barrel a kilometer long and three meters across. To make it laser-straight, gouge out the slope of a mountain and anchor it on the bedrock. Cover it up, armor and camouflage it, too. Put the muzzle near the top, seventy-nine hundred meters above sea level. That reduces air resistance and buys you some speed. Then use sabots to get more speed. You're halfway there. Then ...


Excerpted from Combat, Volume 1 by Larry Bond, Dale Brown, David Hagberg, Stephen Coonts. Copyright © 2001 Stephen Coonts. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
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.

Meet the Author

Stephen Coonts is the author of many New York Times bestselling novels, the first of which was the classic flying tale, Flight of the Intruder, which spent more than six months at the top of The New York Times bestseller list. His novels have been published around the world and translated into more than a dozen languages. He was honored by the U.S. Naval Institute with its Author of the Year Award in 1986. He is also the editor of two anthologies, War in the Air and The New York Times bestselling Combat. He resides with his wife, Deborah, in Nevada.
Stephen Coonts is the author of The Disciple, The Assassin, and the Deep Black and Saucers series, among many other bestsellers. His first novel, the classic flying tale Flight of the Intruder, spent more than six months at the top of The New York Times bestseller list. A motion picture based on the book was released in 1991. His novels have been published around the world and translated into more than a dozen languages. In 1986, he was honored by the U.S. Naval Institute with its Author of the Year Award. He is also the editor of four anthologies, Combat, On Glorious Wings, Victory and War in the Air. Coonts served in the Navy from 1969 to 1977, including two combat cruises on the USS Enterprise during the last years of the Vietnam War.
Larry Bond is the author of several bestselling military thrillers, including Crash Dive, Cold Choices, Dangerous Ground, Red Phoenix and the Larry Bond’s First Team and Larry Bond’s Red Dragon Rising series. He was a naval officer for six years, serving four on a destroyer and two on shore duty in the Washington DC area. He's also worked as a warfare analyst and antisubmarine technology expert, and he now writes and designs computer games, including Harpoon and Command at Sea. He makes his home in Springfield, Virginia.
Dale Brown has taken us into the seldom-seen world of the military review board, and shown us how the future career of an EB-52 Megafortress pilot can depend on a man he's never met. Brown is a contributor to Combat, Vol 1., edited by Stephen Coonts.
David Hagberg is a New York Times bestselling author who has published numerous novels of suspense, including his bestselling thrillers featuring former CIA director Kirk McGarvey, which include Abyss, The Cabal, The Expediter, and Allah’s Scorpion. He has earned a nomination for the American Book Award, three nominations for the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Allan Poe Award and three Mystery Scene Best American Mystery awards. He has spent more than thirty years researching and studying US-Soviet relations during the Cold War. Hagberg joined the Air Force out of high school, and during the height of the Cold War, he served as an Air Force cryptographer. He attended the University of Maryland and University of Wisconsin. Born in Duluth, Minnesota, he now lives with his wife Laurie in Sarasota, Florida.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
July 19, 1946
Place of Birth:
Morgantown, West Virginia
B.A., West Virginia University, 1968; J.D., University of Colorado, 1979

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Combat, Volume 1 2.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anti-climatic waste of time. Three stories that leave you wondering if they are ever going to get anywhere; and when you get to the end leaving you with a "that's it???" kind of feeling. I wish I could get the time and money back that I wasted on this garbage. Do yourself a favor and read something (anything) else.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago