Fatal Terrain (Patrick McLanahan Series #6)

( 6 )


The bestselling author of Dale Brown’s Dreamland and Warrior Class, Dale Brown thrills readers with his chillingly realistic descriptions of high-tech warfare. Now, in this explosive novel, Brown takes to the Asian skies…

The People’s Republic of China has launched a terrifying attack against Taiwan. Cold. Swift. Deadly. The U.S. isn’t willing to stand by and watch, but when they come to Taiwan’s aid, they’re dealt an unexpected blow from ...

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Fatal Terrain

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The bestselling author of Dale Brown’s Dreamland and Warrior Class, Dale Brown thrills readers with his chillingly realistic descriptions of high-tech warfare. Now, in this explosive novel, Brown takes to the Asian skies…

The People’s Republic of China has launched a terrifying attack against Taiwan. Cold. Swift. Deadly. The U.S. isn’t willing to stand by and watch, but when they come to Taiwan’s aid, they’re dealt an unexpected blow from Chinese forces. It looks like the U.S. is going down…

Until aerial strike warfare expert Patrick McLanahan and genius Jon Masters come into the picture. Together, they have created a monster—the EB-52 Megafortress. A high-tech display of weaponry, fully equipped with stealth cruise missiles. The most sophisticated bomber the world has ever seen. The unsinkable “flying battleship.”

Now China is on its way to a nuclear high noon. And the Doomsday clock is ticking…

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
" `It's nothing you haven't done before, General,' McLanahan said. `I know you've gone over the Mach at one hundred AGL in the B-1B, and you've shook off fighters in a B-52 down low before, too.' " Readers whose pulse rises at sentences like that will find that Brown's (Storming Heaven) latest hymn to airborne death and destruction will get their engines up to full rev. Laden with acronyms like COMNAVAIRPAC and CINCPAC, full of stiffly worded patriotism ("And thank you for what you and Tiger Jamieson did over Iran and the Persian Gulf. You averted a major world oil crisis, and probably another Desert Storm. Job well done"), the narrative nevertheless manages to jet through a complex story involving a Chinese plot to retake Taiwan. Crippled by huge budget cuts, the Air Force looks hopeless in the face of this aggressionuntil a secret, private fleet of Megafortresses comes to the rescue. As usual, Brown's encyclopedic knowledge of everything military (and his boyish delight in putting it all down on paper) go a long way toward excusing his tinny dialogue and leaden prose. (June)
Library Journal
Just before the reacquisition of Hong Kong, the Communist Chinese attack the Nationalists on Taiwan. The initial Communist successes trigger further conflicts in Korea, South Asia, and the Middle East, while the United States responds with Patrick McLanahan and his modified EB-52 Megafortress. This work is filled with megaaction and megatonnage of technical details. The characters, on the other hand, suit this genre well enough-jet jocks, slimy politicians, and ruthless Chinese Communists, among others. Joseph Campanella's performance of this thriller, while not outstanding, is more than adequate. His voice is polished and resonant, performing narrative better than dialog. Brown is popular, so public libraries may wish to consider.-Michael T. Fein, Central Virginia Community Coll., Lynchburg Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In this all-too-predictable tale, a reconfigured B-52 bomber and its doughty crew try to prevent a war between Taiwan and the People's Republic of China. Dastardly politicians and greedy military careerists attempt to thwart our friends in the skies, but, aided by hawkish President Martindale, strike-warfare expert Patrick McLanahan and his buddies put their prototype aircraft through its paces while flirting with their own capture or destruction. Unfortunately, Brown here fails to live up to the thought-provoking substance of his previous books, notably Shadows of Steel (LJ 6/15/96). The major characters from those earlier works reappear (accompanied by turgid recapitulations of past escapes) and seize the opportunity to weigh in on the side of the good guys. Despite battle scenes and lots of shouted dialog, the pace is leaden and the characterizations dull. Only for comprehensive Brown or aviation-fiction collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/97.]Elsa Pendleton, Boeing Information Svcs., Inc., China Lake, Cal.
Kirkus Reviews
Retired USAF Colonel Patrick McLanahan and his band of irregulars help turn the tide when the People's Republic of China makes war on its lost province of Taiwan, in another high adventure from past master Brown (Shadows of Steel, 1996, etc.).

On the eve of Hong Kong's return to China, the nationalists on Taiwan unexpectedly announce their complete independence from the mainland and are immediately recognized by Kevin Martindale, the US President. Taipei's declaration enrages Beijing's hardline Communists, and the Red regime dispatches a carrier force to patrol the Formosa Straits. A heavily armed EB-52 Megafortress on a test flight with a civilian crew under McLanahan's command becomes involved in the resultant confrontation. Initially, the American bomber (extensively modified by McLanahan's employer to carry advanced weaponry) tips the balance, but China's vessels launch nuclear-tipped missiles that wipe out the nationalist warships. On the home front, political adversaries in Congress and business interests (concerned about their commercial stakes in China) put intense pressure on Martindale to let Taiwan go by the boards; the turf-conscious American military also presses the White House to take the McLanahan crew (over which they have minimal control) out of the increasingly deadly game. But under the crafty direction of Admiral Sun Ji Guoming (an ardent patriot bent on returning Taiwan to the mainland fold), hostilities escalate and US forces sustain severe losses. Ordered to stand down in the wake of a tragic mistake, McLanahan's experimental aircraft escapes to Guam (before that island is obliterated by China's missiles) and fights on the side of the nationalists in a climactic battle that effectively finishes off Sun's vaulting ambitions.

Nobody, in detailing the lethal excitements of high-tech aerial combat in at least plausible geopolitical contexts, does it better than Brown.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425162606
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/28/1998
  • Series: Patrick McLanahan Series , #6
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 496
  • Sales rank: 367,942
  • Product dimensions: 6.76 (w) x 10.88 (h) x 1.07 (d)

Meet the Author

Former U.S. Air Force captain Dale Brown is the author of several best-selling military-action-aviation-adventure novels: Flight of the Old Dog (1987), Silver Tower (1988), Day of the Cheetah (1989), Hammerheads (1990), Sky Masters (1991), Night of the Hawk (1992), Chains of Command (1993), Storming Heaven (1994) and Shadows of Steel (1996). Dale's novels are published in 11 languages and distributed to over 70 countries.

Dale was born in Buffalo, New York on November 2, 1956. He graduated from Penn State University and received an Air Force commission in 1978. He was a navigator-bombardier in the B-52G Stratofortress heavy bomber and the FB-111A supersonic medium bomber, and is the recipient of several military decorations and awards including the Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Combat Crew Award, and the Marksmanship ribbon. He flew over 2500 hours in various military tactical and training aircraft from 1978 to 1986 and was also a graduate of the U.S. Army Airborne School.

Dale is a volunteer pilot for AirLifeLine, a non-profit national charitable medical transportation organization who fly needy persons free of charge to receive treatment. He also supports a number of organizations to support and promote law enforcement and reading. He is a member of the Airplane Owners and Pilots Association, The Writers Guild, and a Life Member of the Air Force Association and U.S. Naval Institute. He is a multi-engine and instrument-rated private pilot and can often be found in the skies all across the United States, piloting his Piper Aerostar 602P. On the ground, Dale enjoys tennis, scuba diving, and hockey. He lives in Incline Village, Nevada.

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Interviews & Essays

On Friday, July 11th, barnesandnoble.com welcomed Dale Brown to discuss FATAL TERRAIN.

Norman Hedges from Springfield, VA:

Dale Brown: I see a slow deterioration in the situation in Asia. Hong Kong being run by China is unworkable, so China will insist on Hong Kong knuckling under to the communist regime, and tensions will flare. The situation with Taiwan will only grow worse. Once China gets a taste of "reunification" (Macao will be "reunited" with China next year), Taiwan is next!

Knordgren@AOL.com from Hanover, NH: Hey Dale, I haven't read FATAL TERRAIN yet, but I loved SHADOWS OF STEEL. Do you think it is necessary to have prior military experience to draw on in order to write a good military-fiction book?

Dale Brown: Absolutely not! Look at that Tom guy...heck, I forget his last name. ;-) As far as I know, he was not in the military but gleaned a lot of his knowledge from war-gaming and reading. If you have a book in you, just do it!

T. J. Haverford from St. Louis: Having written so many books, do you still read the reviews that are written about your books?

Dale Brown: Oh yes! The reviews don't always tell me a lot, but I read all of them! But the reviews that mean more to me are from my editors and from readers who email me. The feedback via email has been great -- over 1,000 messages in 1997 so far!

Paul from New York City: Who would you say are some of your literary influences?

Dale Brown: Literary influences...probably Stan Lee (Spiderman), Bruce Kane (Batman). ;-) Actually, it's been Louis L'Amour, Time-Life Books, and Science Digest. That's what I read as a kid.

Richard from San Antonio, TX: Having had so much experience in the cockpit, what do you think is the best fighter plane that the United States currently has?

Dale Brown: Without question, the best fighter is the F-15C Eagle. But who cares about them anyway...? Oops, ignore that.... ;-) If I had to send one squadron to a world hot spot, it would have to be a squadron of F-15E Strike Eagles, because they can do both air-to-air and air-to-mud, although it doesn't do bombing as well as a B-52 or B-2 or F-111. No bias in that answer!

Bobbie H. from New Jersey: What is your opinion of President Clinton and his role as Commander in Chief? What do you think about his numerous military cutbacks? Do think he is correct in what he is doing, or do you foresee his deemphasis of military resulting in something like the plot of FATAL TERRAIN?

Dale Brown: President Clinton is the best pure politician we've had in the White House in years. Unfortunately, he's not a leader. But I think the country wanted no more of kick-booty leaders like Bush or Reagan. Few real folks were comfortable with Bush's or Reagan's styles. As long as things remain quiet in the world, presidents like Clinton will do well. But Clinton would be in deep doo-doo if he had to manage a Desert Storm-like conflict, IMHO.

Phil Steck from Yuba College, Marysville, CA: Were you stationed at Mather AFB as part of the 320th Bombardment Wing?

Dale Brown: I was there as a KC-135 IP and Wing Flying Safety Officer. I was with the 320th at Mather from '80 to '83. I started THE FLIGHT OF OLD DOG ZERO ONE (later renamed FLIGHT OF THE OLD DOG) on the back porch of the alert facility while waiting for the Klaxon to go off and wondering how Sandy Scott (SAC's first female KC-135 pilot) was going to climb out of her wet bathing suit, into her flight suit, and run out to her plane if the horn went off!

Roger Stover from Sacramento: Hello, Mr. Brown. What uniqueness do you try to bring to your works?

Dale Brown: The uniqueness in my stories is the perspective of a crew dog -- the guy in the cockpit going off to war. Even if I'm describing activities in the White House or Tehran or Beijing, it's done from the perspective of an American combat flier. I write those scenes as if I'm there listening to their conversations. I don't know if they're real or even remotely alike, but it's what I imagine those scenes would be like. I think I'm successful because the audience agrees and feels comfortable with my perspective.

Neil from Concord, CA: Have they made any of your books into movies yet, and if not, do you have any plans for making a movie about any of your books? I know a couple of film production studios that would be perfect!

Dale Brown: I would love all of my books to be made into films, but my job is to write 'em, not produce them! I've spoken to lots of Hollywood guys, some flakoids, some the real deal. I've also got the folks at William Morris Agency on the case. If they want their cut, they'd better get moving! I'll be ready to assist or stay out of the way, whatever they need to make it happen!

Roberto from Miami, FL: Who do you think is the best military writer in the country today (excluding yourself)? I've read that Clive Cussler thinks you are.

Dale Brown: There are lots of exceptional military writers out there. I guess it depends on what you're hungry for. My buddy Richard Herman Jr. leans more towards the political-leadership point of view in describing a military conflict; Larry Bond likes to write from a field commander's perspective, and he stays deadly accurate and true-to-life. I think that Tom guy (someone help me with the name...!) writes every single thought he's ever had in his head out on paper!

Michael from Metairie, LA: Can you please comment on the current state of the United States Air Force? Thanks.

Dale Brown: The U.S. Air Force is in serious, serious trouble. We simply could not mount another Desert Shield, Desert Storm-like operation now if we had to -- the mobilization we did in 6 months would take 18 months today! The USAF has about 80 B-52Hs in the fleet but enough crews to fly only half of them, including Reservists. Not all of the ready crews can perform every B-52 strike mission -- some units do conventional bombing, but not nuclear, or Harpoon, or cruise missiles, or Raptors. Retention, especially in the rated force, is very poor. We need a new priority to set the USAF straight -- more R&D, fewer systems, more training, emphasis on readiness.

Marty Kaplan from Cleveland, OH: I was hoping you could comment on the research you did with Chinese weapons. Are the military capabilities of the Chinese that you write about at all realistic?

Dale Brown: China's military capabilities are probably better than I describe in FATAL TERRAIN. China's military forces are generally considered to be late '50s or early '60s technology, but the stuff they export to countries like Iran, Serbia, Pakistan, etc. are far better than that. There is no question that China would be a tough opponent, and it would take a real effort to dislodge them from Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam, Kampuchea, Myanmar, wherever they decided to go.

Randolph from Arlington, VA: Would you say that we live in a bipolar community and, if not, how would you describe our international community?

Dale Brown: I'm not sure what you mean by a "bipolar" community. But taken at face value No, I'd say we are a multidimensional world community. Who is rich in the world? Who is poor? Who's the toughest dullard of a guy? Who's the weakest dullard? And it's ever-changing, too. That's what makes it exciting to write books about world military conflicts -- the possibilities are endless!

Rory from Florida: Hey, Dale, I have four questions for you: 1) I am going to be writing a book of commentaries starting in December. I am going to be putting myself into a lot of practice soon. But when I start writing this book, should I think of what commentaries I want to write? Do some research? What should I do? 2) How do you overcome writer's block? 3) How much time do you spend writing? 4) How do you put life into your characters? Do you use character sheets? Do you watch people's personalities and write them down? What do you do? Thanks a bunch!

Dale Brown: If you have a book in you, any kind of book, sit down and write the sucker! Don't think about it, don't outline it, don't strategize, just write it! I offer help to lots of new authors, and I'll repeat my offer here: I'll help anyone who wants help. I have one condition: You must have finished a book-length manuscript, along with an outline, vitae, and synopsis (the same things a prospective agent would ask for). You'd think I'd get swamped with manuscripts after making this offer for ten years now, but quite the contrary. Why? Because lots of folks talk about writing a book, but they never start. If you finish a book-length work, I can almost guarantee that you'll get it published if you believe in yourself and your work and are persistent. Unfortunately, few believe me. Like the commercial says, just do it! I fight writer's block by writing. No, it's not a contradiction. I might not write on the current novel manuscript, but I've always got other books, screenplays, columns, opinion pieces, and letters to the editors in the works. Write every free moment you have. One hour a week or 80 -- whatever is available.

Gaul from San Antonio, TX: I have just recently started FATAL TERRAIN, and so far it is up to par with the past books of yours that I've read. I hold you to be the greatest writer on military adventure. I was just curious what you think about the topical issue of women in the military? Are you for women in battle or against it, and what do you think about the recent policy change with the Citadel and their new policy of letting women into this traditional facility?

Dale Brown: I have flown and served with lots of women in the USAF and have observed women in action in other services. I don't see what the big deal is. All the women I've known have done their jobs with skill and professionalism. If they break the rules, they should get busted for it.Yes, there are some jobs that some women aren't qualified for -- but there are jobs that a lot of men can't qualify for either. But in general, I feel women can fly and fight or sail or shoot just as well as the men.

Nicolas from Colorado Springs, CO: Did you have a plane in mind when you created the fictional EB-52 Megafortress? What about those new stealth cruise missiles; do you know of anything in the real world comparable? Thanks!

Dale Brown: The EB-52 was based on several experimental "test-bed" planes out at Edwards AFB in the '70s and '80s. B-52s were used to test everything from engines to radar-absorbent materials to weapons. I just put all the test-beds together into one plane! The stealth cruise missiles (JSOW, Advanced Cruise Missile, etc.) are real. JSOW will be deployed in a few years; ACM has been around for 5-6 years. This technology will grow faster than new plane development!

Bob K. from Port Alberni, BC, Canada: Dale; I do not have a question, but I look forward to each new book that is released. You have a unique writing perspective that permits an old flyer like me to be back in the cockpit. Keep up the good work.

Dale Brown: Thank you! You continue to read, and I'll continue to write! Deal?

Matt from Lexington, KY: I am a retired Air Force officer who has since taken up an entirely new profession. I am just curious to know if you miss the Air Force, and do you enjoy writing books as much as flying?

Dale Brown: I miss flying a lot -- the USAF didn't have to pay me to fly! They DID however have to pay me for sitting alert, generating planes, doing paperwork and additional duties, getting my hair cut, etc. I also miss the dirty crew dogs I flew with. I really felt like I was making a difference, although I never dropped a bomb against a real bad guy.

Ronnie from San Diego, CA: Dale, are you going on a reading tour? If so, will you be anywhere in the southern California area soon?

Dale Brown: I write my books -- I don't READ them! ;-) But if you want me to show at your bookstore or reading group, write or email me and we'll see what we can do. I'm always up for a trip to San Diego!

Jamie W.: FATAL TERRAIN was great; just curious if you are on your next book? Can you tell us anything about your next book?

Dale Brown: Thanks! Yes, I've started on a new book. Can't tell you too much more about it, except Patrick, Wendy, Hal, and a few others will make an appearance!

Jim from Bath, NY: Hi, Dale. Now that you are a dad, how has it changed your life? Would you like your son to follow in your footsteps? See you in Buffalo -- Jim

Dale Brown: Hunter has already informed me that he wishes to be a cop like his mom or a lifeguard like the guys on "Baywatch!"

Moderator: Dale, thanks for joining us this evening, and thanks to all who participated! Any closing comments?

Dale Brown: Thanks for having me online! Any more questions, stop by my web site (http://www.megafortress.com). Enjoy!

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 1999

    Brown Blows my Mind Again!!!!!

    Another great Brown novel, one of his best and that means a lot coming from his books

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 22, 2014

    Brown is an exceptional story teller.  A little too much drab ba

    Brown is an exceptional story teller.  A little too much drab background in this novel, but a good story.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2014

    Not anther one

    This book is a collection of acronyms and Chines names. You get lost in the alphabet soup. I gave up after page 60. A ripoff.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2000

    Good but not his best

    Ive read everything from Mr. Brown. The book was good but I had a hard time staying with the story in the middle. Of the 474 pages, it could have been cut back by at least 100 pages. The ending is very captivating. Would make a very good movie.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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