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The Fourth War
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The Fourth War

4.8 7
by Chris Stewart (2)

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Along the Afghanistan border, a CIA agent meets secretly with a distraught Arab girl. She passes him a coded message before killing herself. But before the message can be deciphered, the world spins toward war: Within hours, the president of Pakistan is assassinated, and the country's nuclear warheads go missing. Al Qaeda streams into northern Pakistan. Israel


Along the Afghanistan border, a CIA agent meets secretly with a distraught Arab girl. She passes him a coded message before killing herself. But before the message can be deciphered, the world spins toward war: Within hours, the president of Pakistan is assassinated, and the country's nuclear warheads go missing. Al Qaeda streams into northern Pakistan. Israel puts her combat forces on hair-trigger alert.

CIA paramilitary agent Peter Zembeic is given the impossible task of finding and destroying the missing warheads. Working with his best friend, a B-2 pilot, they develop a desperate plan to save the world from the threat of nuclear terror.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Red-hot intrigue and combat action from a talented young writer."

—Stephen Coonts

"The Fourth War is a masterpiece, one that sets new techno-thriller standards. Chris Stewart's literary torque wrench cranks up the tension to an unbearable point in this stark tale of the war on terror. The Fourth War is more than a page turner, it's a mind blower as he tosses twists, turns and surprises on every page. Bound to be a movie!" —Walter Boyne

Publishers Weekly
Stewart's experience as a fighter pilot comes into play in vivid flying scenes featuring the beautiful but tough-as-nails USAF Capt. Tai Lei, but the scope of his ambitious fourth thriller is much larger. The war in question begins with the murder of Pakistan's president and the theft of a cache of American nuclear warheads. The president and his brain trust respond while CIA paramilitary agent Peter Zembeic engages in a complicated search for the stolen warheads, even traveling through Afghanistan and later Tajikistan on horseback. In Stewart's hands, many of the novel's surprising details feel entirely authentic. The complex plot has al-Qaeda's fingerprints on it and, engineered by a character identified as the Great One, targets two dozen world cities for destruction. Along the way, the story spins through more than 20 locations, including Qatar, Oman, France, Syria and Kyrgyzstan. Predictably, the world is brought to the brink of destruction. But Stewart is impressively skilled at presenting the entire tapestry of his war-the many threads of the terrorist, allied and American forces-and should hold his readers' interest. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A smash-'em-up, swift-flying Western with a John Wayne-type maverick paramilitary operator on the trail of angry Islamic terrorists in possession of nuclear warheads. Former USAF pilot Stewart's fourth thriller (The Third Consequence, 2000, etc.) features sharp, fearless American agent Peter Zembeic, who works for a CIA group known as the Campers and uses his smarts to fight terrorism-certain that he is on the right side. The exiled Taliban have taken refuge in Pakistan to rebuild their forces, and, all at once, a series of calamitous events transpire in and around the country, from the mysterious downing of the Pakistani president's airplane, to the assassination of Pakistan's prime minister, to a number of destabilizing explosions in central Islamabad, leaving the country's 24 nuclear warheads at the mercy of terrorist seizure. Peter and his CIA contact Colonel Shane Bradley (who operates from the Shin Bet Israeli undercover detachment south of Tel Aviv) have decoded a message from their Islamic terrorist spy Donner that "Darkhorse" is coming-a reference to the Apocalypse. Peter, working out of Camp Cowboy, a CIA paramilitary base in northern Afghanistan, is secretly led to the location of the warheads by the Islamic spy Donner, who seems truly motivated by humanitarian means when he explains the ramifications of a nuclear war: "America will be wounded, but we will cease to exist." Yet the Americans fail to gain the warheads before they fall into the hands of an al-Qaeda terrorist cell led by the Great Leader (who sounds much like bin Laden), along with his dreaded henchman, a torture artist named Angra. Colonel Bradley and his trusty female pilot, Tia, are shot down and roughed up byAngra. Peter comes to the rescue in True Grit fashion, in what proves to be a swaggering, cowboys-and-Indians adventure that occasionally becomes airborne. Full of military acronyms for the savvy reader.

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.69(h) x 1.06(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Eastern Dasht-e Lut Desert, Iran

Eleven Kilometers from the Afghanistan Border

The meeting took place on the edge of a high mountain desert, miles from humanity, but near the center of Asia. The terrible mountains of Turkmenistan lie not far to the north. The unmarked wasteland of the Afghanistan border was just to the east. It was a harsh land, foreboding, majestic, and severe, with no well-established borders to belabor the travel of beasts or men. Hidden under the desert were a thousand years worth of battle relics from the past—arrowheads, cankered armor, broken spears, and rusted guns—all of which served as a reminder that the area, though desolate, had been fought over before.

During the last century, the Dasht-e Lut had taken a turn toward relative peace, allowing the local nomadic herdsman to recapture an existence that hadn't changed for two thousand years. But rumors of war could now be heard again. Bandits, nonuniformed armies, and fugitives from international law could be found in the caves that spiderwebbed through the base of the mountains, and even up into the rocky buttes with their scrub-topped plateaus.

It was a perfect place to hide, for this was territory beyond the edge of civilization. There were no borders in the mountains and no nation-states, no governments or security, no communications or roads. And there certainly was no authority that recognized the West.

The designated rendezvous spot was along a rocky lip of the Garabil Plain, on the outskirts of a forgotten mining town that had been happily deserted soon after the First World War. The broken-down shanties, tiny dwellings that had been scraped together from tar paper and old shipping crates, had been arranged around a small spring that was now a dark, muddy hole. The opening to the mine shaft was somewhere up the side of the hill, lost in the cedars and brush that had grown up over the years. On this night, the moon was clear and round, bright white and surrounded by a thin halo from the ice crystals that had blown off the snowcapped Himalayan peaks to the east. The air was perfectly still, as the earth seemed to take a breath and hold it, waiting and listening, knowing something soon would appear.

The American watched from the mount of his horse, a long-legged Arabian that he loved like a child. He patted her mane gently, softly speaking her name. The Harlot Isabel he called her in tribute to his first wife, a blonde and blued-eyed heartbreaker who had taken most of his money and skipped off with her boss. Behind his legs, the saddlebags bulged with the latest in twenty-first-century technology—a rubber-coated computer, GPS, satellite telephone, encryption encoder, laser designator, and infrared sensor and night-vision display—all of which would have been worthless if it weren't for the horse, for there was no other way to travel in this part of the world. The terrain was too harsh, the mountains too steep, and the distance between water supplies was simply too far to get around any other way.

The saddle held another secret: Sown into the cotton saddle straps, wrapped under the sweating belly of his horse, was $200,000 in thousand-dollar bills. Over the past year the agent Peter Zembeic had passed out more than three million dollars to various warlords, terrorists, old men, and young girls—everyone and anyone willing to feed his intelligence operation. Entire armies were for sale, but they didn't come cheap, and flashing cash was one of the things the CIA did very well. Peter sometimes wondered which he needed more, his horse or his cash. The truth was, both were indispensable in this part of the world.

Peter worked for a CIA group known as the "Campers" (though the organization was so secret their code name was changed every six months or so). There were a hundred or so Campers working throughout the Caspian area. With infiltration routes, drop zones, stolen Russian helicopters, intelligence contacts, and assault points, the Campers were a key to the fight against terror. With the ability to hide in plain sight, they get in and get out before anyone can figure out who they were.

The American agent held the reins lightly, then carefully nudged his animal's side. The Arabian moved forward, her eyes already adjusted to the night, then instinctively stopped at the crest of the hill. Brushing against the needles of a juniper, the horse sought additional cover. She had been trained very well. He owed his life to this mount.

Copyright © 2005 by Chris Stewart

Meet the Author

CHRIS STEWART is a former USAF pilot once assigned to fly the SR-71 Blackbird and B-1 bomber. He is the author of three other acclaimed thrillers, Shattered Bone, The Kill Box, and The Third Consequence. He lives in Farmington, Utah.

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Fourth War 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read all of Chris Stewart's thrillers, and this is my favorite. It's an edge of your seat, heart-pounding nailbiter. His military expertise shines through, and he spins quite a yarn. One thing I like is that while he doesn't stint on action, he also keeps the language clean, a refreshing surprise for this genre. Highly recommended for those who have enjoyed other military thrillers, or who would like to sample this type of reading for the first time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Chris Stewart is an amazing writer. Love his books. If you like his books I would reccomend The Seven Miracles that Saved America and The Seven Tipping Points that Saved the World written by Chris and his brother, Ted Stewart.
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Retired_B-1B_OSO More than 1 year ago
Chris weaves current events and national policies into his latest book. His detailed writing style paint wonderful mosaics of the people, countryside, and gripping events which leave the reader begging for more. There is no weakness to his storyline, and his technical background as a B-1 Bomber pilot provides strong credibility to his descriptions of military personnel, equipment, weaponry and tactics. He is at least on-par if not better than any offering from Tom Clancy. A must read for any techno-military fan!
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