Crossfire

Crossfire

5.0 1
by Andy McNab
     
 

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The breathtaking new thriller from the author of Bravo Two Zero.

Body guarding a TV crew on the streets of war-torn Basra, ex-deniable operator Nick Stone’s life is saved by a reporter’s swift action as a roadside bomb explodes. When the man later vanishes, Stone is asked to find him. The trail leads from Iraq to Bermuda, London and Kabul, the

Overview

The breathtaking new thriller from the author of Bravo Two Zero.

Body guarding a TV crew on the streets of war-torn Basra, ex-deniable operator Nick Stone’s life is saved by a reporter’s swift action as a roadside bomb explodes. When the man later vanishes, Stone is asked to find him. The trail leads from Iraq to Bermuda, London and Kabul, the dark and brutal city where governments, terrorism and big business inexorably collide. Caught in the crossfire, his nightmare is only just beginning, for the hunter has suddenly become the hunted. . .

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A heart-thumping read.”
Daily Express

“McNab’s great asset is that the heart of his fiction is non-fiction: other thriller writers do their research, but he has actually been there.”
Sunday Times

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780552153782
Publisher:
Transworld Publishers Limited
Publication date:
07/02/2008
Pages:
512
Product dimensions:
4.15(w) x 7.00(h) x 1.25(d)

Read an Excerpt

1

Tuesday, 27 February 2007
0015 hrs
North-west of Basra

The noise and heat, gloom and sheer fucking claustrophobia in the back of the Warrior were oppressive enough, but now the armour was suddenly clanging three times a second like the world’s strongest madman was using it for sledgehammer practice. We were taking rounds. It could only mean we were closing in on target.

The engine roared and the tracks screeched over the rock.

The front end dipped hard.

‘Fuck!’ the Scouse driver screamed over the radio net, as he stood on the anchors. ‘There’s a fuck’n’ bastard tank!’

The commander yelled back so loud I had to lift the PRR pad from my ear. ‘Go right, you cunt – you’ll hit the fucker!’ Until a few years ago, the only way troops could communicate with each other was by shouting or hand signals, but every man and his dog now wore a personal role radio. It had revolutionized the infantry. Just four inches by six, with a headset consisting of an ear pad, Velcro strap and little boom mike, PRR acted effectively as a secure chat net between troops.

The Challenger’s thundering growl had come from our left. The tracks squealed and we gripped whatever we could get hold of to stop ourselves being flung from our seats. We took more small-arms fire into the hull, and then there was a much louder bang two feet away from my shoulder.

‘RPG!’

Rocket-propelled grenades could punch holes in concrete walls. I knew it would just bounce off the skirt of bar armour surrounding us, but I still felt like I was trapped in a locked safe while people on the outside were fucking about with blowtorches and gelignite.

It wasn’t simply that I couldn’t see what was happening. It was having no control that bothered me. I was at the mercy of the driver, the gunner, and the commander in the turret. He was a platoon sergeant called Rhett or Red – I didn’t catch it when we met, and then we got past the point where I could ask again.

Our Warrior was part of the battle group’s recce platoon. Dom, Pete and I were embedded. ‘Entombed, more like,’ Pete said. He’d been a tankie himself once upon a time, and even he didn’t like the lid coming down. We were jammed shoulder to shoulder in the eerie red glow of the night-lights. Rhett’s scuffed and dusty desert boots were level with my face. The gunner was up there on his left, frantically feeding rounds into the 30mm cannon.

The wagon took one final hard right and came to a jarring, gut-wrenching halt. The stern reared up under the momentum, then crashed down like a breaking wave.

‘Dismount! Dismount!’

Rhett’s shout was drowned by the cannon kicking off above us.

Dom got a punch from one of the Kingsmen and hit the button above his head. The rear-door hydraulics whined. I could see stars, hear the roar of gunfire and heavy machinery.

The four recce guys tumbled out into the inky blackness. Pete shoved a hand over his lens and we followed.

My Timberlands slid and twisted on the rubble as I ducked down against the bar armour, gulping fresh but dust-laden air. Oil wells blazed out of control on the horizon. Gases and crude were being forced out of the ground under phenomenal pressure, shooting flames a hundred feet into the air.

The night was filled with the thunder of 30mm cannon kicking off across the dried-up wadi bed that separated us from our target – the buildings no more than a hundred away. It had prevented the drivers going right up to the front doors.

I was hungry for more air. My nostrils filled with sand, but I didn’t care. I had my feet on the ground and I was in control of them. And, thanks to the mortar platoon, I could see what was happening. Their 81mm tubes had filled the sky with illume. Balls of blazing magnesium hung in the air above the town before beginning their descent, casting shadows left and right as they swung under their parachutes, silhouetting the two massive Challengers rumbling left and right of us.

Bright muzzle flashes from four or five AKs sparked up from the line of houses that edged the built-up area.

Our gunner switched from the 30mm Rarden cannon to the 7.62mm Hughes Helicopter Chain Gun to dish out a different edition of the same good news.

Two Warriors lurched to a halt alongside us, throwing up a plume of dust. My nose was totally clogged now. Guys spilled out of the back doors with bayonets fixed.

Pete adjusted the oversized Batman utility belt round his waist where he stuffed his lenses and shit, and raised his infrared camera to his face. He was like a kid in a sweetshop as the mass of armour surrounding the town spewed infantry into the sand.

Dom got ready to do his Jeremy Bowen bit to camera. He rehearsed a few soundbites to himself as Pete sorted the sound check.

‘The Kingsmen of the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment are halfway through their six-month tour. They have been shot at twenty-four/seven by small arms, RPGs and mortars, but ask any one of them and they’ll tell you it’s what they signed up to do.’

Tonight they were about to kick the shit out of the insurgents who were within spitting distance of taking over Al Gurnan and starting to claim the ground as their own. They had to be broken. An insurgent stronghold soon became another link in the supply chain from Iran, just ten clicks away.

The Kingsmen’s mission was to do the breaking, and ours was to report it. Dom talked, Pete filmed him, and I had to make sure the two didn’t get shot, snatched, or run over by a set of tracks sent screaming across the desert by a bunch of jabbering Scousers.

It wasn’t easy. When Dom started playing newsman, he seemed to think there was a magic six-foot forcefield standing between him and any incoming fire. Sometimes he thought he didn’t even need to wear a helmet. But in this war the enemy didn’t give a shit whether you were a journalist or a soldier. If you were a foreigner they wanted you out, preferably in a body-bag. If they could get you alive, so much the better: you’d be the new star of The Al Jazeera Show, and all you could do was hope your next appearance wouldn’t end with them slicing off your head online.

The chain gun ceased fire. The Kingsmen swarmed down into the wadi.

Dom made to follow, but I grabbed him and pulled him on to his knees. Another flurry of illume kicked off over the town and the cannon opened up again. I had to scream into his ear: ‘They said not to go forward until they call us! Wait. Let them get on with it.’

The Kingsmen vanished for a few seconds in the dead ground of the riverbed, before reappearing on the far bank, screaming and shouting all sorts of Scouse shit they probably didn’t even understand themselves.

They kicked their way through a series of old wooden doors and into whatever chaos lay the other side.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Meet the Author

Andy McNab was the British Army’s most highly decorated serving soldier when he left the SAS in February 1993. He wrote about his experiences in two phenomenal bestsellers, Bravo Two Zero and Immediate Action. He is the author of the bestselling novels, Remote Control, Crisis Four, Firewall, Last Light, Liberation Day and Dark Winter.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Crossfire 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago