Fury In The Ashes [NOOK Book]

Overview


It had been the cruelest joke ever played on the men and women who survived the Great War. The politicians had told them that all the major cities of the world had been destroyed, and it was only years later that Ben Raines and his legion of dedicated warriors found out the politicians had lied. The vast metropolises of America's West Coast had become bastions of evil-seemingly impregnable strongholds for hordes of mutant Night People and thousands of well-trained, well-armed punk street gangs eager to fight all...
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Fury In The Ashes

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Overview


It had been the cruelest joke ever played on the men and women who survived the Great War. The politicians had told them that all the major cities of the world had been destroyed, and it was only years later that Ben Raines and his legion of dedicated warriors found out the politicians had lied. The vast metropolises of America's West Coast had become bastions of evil-seemingly impregnable strongholds for hordes of mutant Night People and thousands of well-trained, well-armed punk street gangs eager to fight all those who threatened their empires of lust and murder. Now it is up to Ben Raines and his army to mop up California from San Francisco to Lost Angeles, annihilate the forces of world anarchy, strike a final blow for freedom's cause, and make any sacrifice necessary so that humankind might survive the Fury Of The Ashes. 
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781497630192
  • Publisher: Open Road Media
  • Publication date: 4/1/2014
  • Series: Ashes , #13
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 107,912
  • File size: 1,018 KB

Meet the Author


Bill Johnstone was the leading author in Kensington's line of men's adventure fiction for more than 25 years. Besides the four long-running adventure series ("Mountain Man," "The First Mountain Man," "Ashes" and "Eagles") he also wrote more than a dozen novels on suspense and horror themes. Always on the cutting edge, Johnstone had his own author website early on at WilliamJohnstone.net.

William W. Johnstone died February 8, 2004. 
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Read an Excerpt

Fury in the Ashes

The Ashes Series: Book #13


By William W. Johnstone

OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA

Copyright © 1991 William W. Johnstone
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4976-3019-2


CHAPTER 1

Ben was leaning slightly out of the Jeep, admiring the denim-covered derriere of a very attractive lady. A lady that he had not seen before.

"You're going to fall out of that damn Jeep if you're not careful." The voice came from behind him.

Smiling, Ben straightened up and turned his head, looking at his longtime friend. The previous view was not easy to turn away from, and Ben vowed he would check it out. "Good to see you, Ike. Any trouble in your sector coming down here?"

"Nothing we couldn't handle. In case you're interested, and it's obvious that you are, her name is Linda Parsons. She's a survivor from over Nevada way. She's thirty-five years old. Lost her husband and kids a few years back during an outlaw raid."

Ben got out of the Jeep and stretched his six-feet-plus frame. "How in the hell do you know so much about her, old married man?"

"'Cause I got here yesterday and inquiring minds want to know!"

Both men laughed at the references to the old TV commercial that many in the Rebel ranks would be too young to have anything but a vague memory of.

Linda turned her head at the laughter and looked at the men. She had been introduced to General Ike, and the tall man with him had to be General Ben Raines. He was handsome, not in a pretty-boy way, but in a rugged, interesting way. Looked to be about fifty, she guessed.

Ben lifted his eyes to hers and for an instant, they stared at each other. Someone called to her and she walked away.

Ike cleared his throat and said, "Big job ahead of us, Ben."

"Yeah. Let's get to it."

Ben Raines and his Rebel Army, including the forces of the Russian, Georgi Striganov, had started this campaign on the banks of the Mississippi, at St. Louis. Now they were all but finished in the lower forty-eight, the campaign taking them cross-country to the Northwest. They were now preparing for the final leg, the assault on Los Angeles, with its thousands of street punks and Night People.

Once on the West Coast, the Rebels had discovered that all the talk of nuclear destruction — which they had all believed for years — had been a gigantic hoax. The West Coast was clean all the way down into Mexico and beyond. Ben had been hearing radio chatter for months about the Mexican people reforming their army and cleaning out the nest of creepies and outlaws. So far as he could tell, the Mexican people were slowly gaining the upper hand.

In the United States, so far as the Rebels now knew, only the Washington, D.C./Baltimore area and Kansas City had actually taken nuclear strikes during the Great War. Most of the other cities had taken chemical strikes.

What Ben did not know was that Lan Villar, Khamsin, Ashley, Kenny Parr, and the outlaw bikers had pulled together what remained of their shattered forces after butting head-to-head with the Rebels in the Northwest, and were heading for Alaska, a spot that Ben had decided to investigate after cleaning out southern California. Alaska had been code-named Northstar.

Ben's Husky pup, Smoot, rolled over on her back in the back seat of the Jeep and started snoring, deep in contented sleep.

"What's the word on the flyovers?" Ike asked.

"Not good. From what our pilots have been able to observe, Los Angeles is pretty well carved up by various gangs, but the Scouts have taken a few prisoners, and under interrogation, they admit that all the gangs will pull together and work as one if attacked by a large enough force."

"What are we facing?"

"Just about anything you'd care to name," Ben said, disgust in his voice. "Offshoots of those punk gangs of the eighties make up a lot of the enemy. Dickheads with gang names like the Boogies make up a lot of the enemy. The Boogies and the Skulls and assorted punk crap like that. The Night People have their own section of L.A., and the gangs respect it. At least the Believers haven't renamed themselves the Purple Twats or something equally stupid."

Ike laughed at Ben. "Oregon is clean, Ben. The rest of the teams will be pulling in here over the next couple of days."

"We won't have much time to rest and reorganize. I won't kid you, Ike. Taking California is not going to be easy. The gangs here have had years to arm and train; they've known for a long time that someday they'd have to face us. And they'll probably be ready, at least mentally geared up for it. If any of our people are thinking easy, tell them to hang it up."

"Still no word from Khamsin, Kenny Parr, Lan Villar, or any of the rest?"

"Not a peep. I know we knocked the props out from under them, but I don't believe we killed them all. They're in deep hiding somewhere. They'll show up. Bet on that."

The Rebels were now almost certain that there had been a massive cover-up on the part of America's politicians after the Great War. From what they had been able to piece together, many members of Congress had been secretly supporting the movement of the Believers, the Night People — creepies to the Rebels — a bizarre religion that embraced cannibalism. Why they'd supported a movement that horrible was something that Ben realized he would probably never know.

Ike wandered off to rejoin his command and Ben walked through the milling crowds of the Rebel army, or at least a part of it.

The Rebels had concluded their sweep of the Northwest, and Washington and Oregon had been declared ninety-five-percent clean. The Rebel outposts they had established would settle up with that remaining five percent of creepies, warlords, thugs, punks, and other malcontents. And they would do it the Rebel way: with a bullet or a rope. The Rebels did not believe in lengthy trials. Plea-bargaining was a term that had been stricken from the English language. Fuck up bad and the penalty was death.

Cecil Jefferys and his command were making ready to push south out of Medford, Oregon. They had taken the town without having to destroy it — as was usually the Rebel way with larger cities — and were using the airport to resupply. The Russian, Striganov, and the mercenary, West, had pushed down to the small town of Lakeview and supplies were being trucked to them. Five and Six Battalions of the Rebel army had been shifted over to the east side of the state and they were in position to start the push south. For the time being, they were under the command of Georgi Striganov.

Ben was leaning up against a fender, studying a map. He waved for a runner to join him, and also for his radio operator. "You find Ike and tell him to pull out as soon as possible. Corrie, bump Cecil and tell him to link up with Ike; they'll take the coastline highway all the way down to San Francisco. There is no point in putting this off. We'll take Interstate 5 south. Georgi and West will push south on 395. All units will be rolling in two days."

"Right, sir." She waited, knowing that more was coming.

"Tina and her Scouts will join Georgi and West, for the time being. Buddy will join Ike and Cec. Everyone else will remain with us."

"Yes, sir."

"Tell Leadfoot and the Wolfpack to get ready to move out. I want them to penetrate as far south as Yreka and halt there. They are to radio back with their assessment."

"Right, sir."

Leadfoot and his Wolfpack had, at one time, been outlaw bikers. Ben, seeing more than a spark of decency in the bikers, had given them a choice of lifestyles. They had accepted it. Leadfoot, Beerbelly, Hoss, and Wanda and her bunch had joined the Rebels. They had proved to be fierce fighters and totally loyal to Ben and the Rebel movement.

"General, what about the new bunch?" Corrie asked innocently.

"What new bunch?"

"The group that came in from Nevada. The one Linda Parsons was with."

"Incorporate them into our units. Spread them out. Send the noncombatants to Base Camp One. You know all that, Corrie. What's going on here?"

"Yes, sir. Right, sir. Linda was trained as an RN."

"Wonderful. So what?"

"Ah ... I gather that Doctor Chase has not yet informed you of his decision."

"I haven't seen the old goat in several days. Where is he? What decision?"

"He's assigned Linda to our team."

Ben looked at her, "I love the way people make decisions without consulting me."

"Yes, sir. Doctor Chase said it was for your own good."

"That's very interesting. Get her over here, will you?"

Beth, another member of Ben's personal team, had walked up, listening to the exchange. "Doctor Chase said that since you refuse to behave like a commander is supposed to behave, that is, directing operations from behind the lines, he felt it best to assign a medical person to the team."

"Do remind me to thank him from the bottom of my heart," Ben said dryly.

"Yes, sir. I will certainly make a note of that."

"Have the mechanics finished with our vehicle?"

"Be ready in the morning," Beth told him.

Ben's vehicle was a big, nine-passenger Chevy wagon, with armor plate and bullet-proof glass. Ben's driver was Cooper. His self-appointed bodyguard was the cute and diminutive Jersey.

"Where is Jersey?" Ben asked.

"Probably harassing Cooper," Beth said.

"Thermopolis and Emil?"

"In a deep philosophical discussion over by the river."

"That should be a conversation to be recorded for the ages."

Thermopolis and his band of 21st-century hippies had thrown their lot in with Ben, considering him to be the lesser of the evils that faced their way of life. Emil Hite was a little con artist who usually had some religious scam going — the last one had been the Great God Blomm. But both Therm and Emil and their followers had proven themselves in battle many times and Ben was glad to have them on the Rebel side.

Corrie brought Linda Parsons over to meet the general.

The woman had a very pretty, heart-shaped face that reminded Ben of a movie actress ... he couldn't think of her name. Linda, Ben guessed, would stand about five-five and was very nicely proportioned. Light brown hair, worn short. Green eyes that were studying him as closely as he was studying her.

"You understand the Rebel philosophy, Mrs. Parsons?" Ben asked her.

"I understand it."

"Do you agree with it?"

She nodded her head. "I agree with enough of it to live with it."

Ben could accept that. A lot of Rebels felt the same way. The Rebel way was harsh and usually uncompromising. There were no niceties of law. If you fought the Rebels, you died. If you chose not to accept the Rebel doctrine but remained non-hostile, the Rebels would not harm you. But in most cases neither would they help you. Ike had once said that a man couldn't get much plowin' done with both mules wanting to pull in opposite directions. The Rebels knew it was a hard and terrible time, worldwide, and they understood that there was no room for fence-straddlers. Let's get the nation back together again, and then we'll debate the fine points of law.

"The bunch you came in with," Ben said, "how many of you?"

"About fifty adults. There are eighteen children. I understand that you are sending the children down to your base camp in Louisiana."

"That's correct. And any of the adults who wish a noncombatant role."

"Then that will knock it down to about forty who will remain here."

"Whatever, Mrs. Parsons."

"Please, just Linda."

"Fine. Beth, go with her and get her into uniform. Draw supplies and equipment and then both of you rejoin me at my CP." Ben looked around him. "Wherever the damn thing is."


"I get the impression that the general doesn't like me," Linda said, as she and Beth walked toward the supply area.

"Don't make any snap conclusions," Beth warned her. "The general is sometimes hard to read." She grinned. "Besides, I think you're wrong. He was sizing you up a few minutes before you joined us. I was watching him."

"I heard he was a womanizer."

"He likes the ladies, for sure."

"How old is he?"

"'Bout fifty."

"That's what I guessed. You been with him long?"

"Pretty good while. We've been in some scraps, I'll tell you that for sure."

"He married?"

"No. I think he was, a long time ago; or else they were just living together. She was killed during the battle for the Tri-States. Tina is his adopted daughter. Buddy is his blood son. By a woman that now hates both Ben and Buddy."

"Sister Voleta?"

"That's right. News gets around."

"General Raines is an ... interesting-looking man," Linda said. "He can be very ... well, intense when he looks at you."

"He is also one of the most dangerous people you'll ever meet. And he likes to take chances. It can get interesting staying around him too. He'll usually find some way to get right in the middle of a fight."

"I thought generals were supposed to direct operations from far behind the lines, in some safe bunker?"

Beth laughed. "Not in the Rebel army, honey. And for sure, not Ben Raines. You'll see."

Linda looked around her at the crush of Rebels, drawing supplies, checking in malfunctioning equipment, and receiving other equipment. Many were lined up at MASH tents for medical or dental work. She did not see a single person just loafing.

Beth seemed to read her thoughts as she followed the woman's eyes. "There's a war on in the lower forty-eight. And the sooner we win it down here, the sooner we'll head for Alaska and kick butt up there." "And then?"

"Europe."

"Europe! Isn't that a rather ambitious undertaking?" Beth shrugged. "Not really. We've kicked ass all over the United States, haven't we?"

"Maybe they don't want the Rebel way over there." It was not put as a question.

"And maybe they do. We won't know until we get there, will we? Here we are. Louise?" She grinned at the woman behind a long table filled with clothing. "This is Linda. Load her up with gear. She's been assigned to the general's team."

Linda looked at her. "Does that make me somebody special?"

"Some might say so. It's good duty. You'll get to see lots of action up close."

"Yeah," Louise said, smiling. "And you get the absolutely mind-boggling conversation of Cooper thrown in for free."

"And all about what happened in the olden days from the general," Beth added.

Linda laughed. "Careful now. I'm closer to the general's age than to yours."

"That's right," Beth said, a twinkle in her eyes. "And don't think the general hasn't noticed too."


Linda noticed that Ben Raines seemed to be constantly on the prowl, popping up at the most unexpected times and places. And always with Jersey and her M-16 right beside or behind him. Usually, the entire team was with him. And he seemed to know everybody. There was a free-spirited stream of chatter — often laced with vulgar jokes and profanity — going on between the general and the Rebels.

General Ike McGowan had pulled out the previous afternoon, heading for the west side of the state to link up with the black general, Cecil Jefferys. The entire Rebel force was to begin their jump-off at dawn the next day.

"Nervous?" The voice came from her right.

Linda looked up into the face of Ben Raines. She had not heard him approach her. And how did he know what she had been thinking? Maybe the rumors about him were true. A lot of people believed that Ben Raines was some sort of god; or if not that, at least possessed with some sort of supernatural ability. Linda didn't believe in ghosts and hobgoblins and psychic powers and all that. But she didn't know how she felt about Ben Raines. Except that he was very impressive. Tall, with brown hair peppered with gray. A rangy sort of man, but possessed of some strength, she felt. Unreadable eyes.

"A little, I'll admit it," she answered.

He sat down beside her on the ground. "I read your dossier. You haven't seen much combat, have you?"


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Fury in the Ashes by William W. Johnstone. Copyright © 1991 William W. Johnstone. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
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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