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Ghost (Ghost Series #1)

Ghost (Ghost Series #1)

3.7 32
by John Ringo

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Former SEAL Michael Harmon, Team Name "Ghost", retired for service injuries, is not enjoying college life. But things are about to change, if not for the better. When he sees a kidnapping a series of, at the time logical, decisions leave him shot to ribbons and battling a battalion of Syrian commandos with only the help of three naked co-eds who answer to the names


Former SEAL Michael Harmon, Team Name "Ghost", retired for service injuries, is not enjoying college life. But things are about to change, if not for the better. When he sees a kidnapping a series of, at the time logical, decisions leave him shot to ribbons and battling a battalion of Syrian commandos with only the help of three naked co-eds who answer to the names 'Bambi,' 'Thumper' and 'Cotton Tail.' A fast-paced, highly-sexual, military-action thriller that ranges from a poison factory in the Mideast to the Florida Keys to Siberia, the novel will keep you guessing what twisted fate will bring next for the man once known as . . . Ghost. Keep an eye on him or . . . poof, he'll be gone.

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
John Ringo, world-renowned as a master of military science fiction (Cally's War, Hell's Faire, et al.), tries his hand at the technothriller with a sexually charged novel about a former Navy SEAL nicknamed Ghost with a penchant for exploring his darker side.

Retired after 15 years in special ops due to a myriad of physical ailments, Michael Harmon is having trouble fitting into his new role as a University of Georgia undergrad. Instead, Ghost (named for his uncanny ability to "blend") likes to stalk unknowing coeds and speculate on the carnal possibilities. But when a vanload of men suddenly abduct a blonde that Ghost had been following, he gives chase and follows the van to a deserted warehouse, where he uncovers a terrorist plot to kidnap and brutalize dozens of innocent American women. Ghost's military training kicks in, and after killing most of the jihadists within the warehouse, he tracks a truckload of sedated abductees to a 727 at an Atlanta airport and hitches a ride to Syria. In the action that ensues, Ghost unearths plots involving WMD production, rogue nukes, sexual slavery, and the assassination of world leaders -- all of which culminates in a breathtaking showdown at (where else?) a strip joint in Amsterdam, in the champagne room!

With a paradoxical and darkly complex protagonist -- both war hero and rapist -- who makes iconic literary action heroes like Ludlum's Jason Bourne and Clancy's Jack Ryan look like choirboys, Ringo's Ghost is as wildly provocative as it is entertaining. Followers of his previous science fiction work, as well as fans of contemporary down-and-dirty suspense authors like Charlie Huston and Robert Ferrigno, will enjoy this brilliantly audacious thriller. Love it or hate it, Ringo has penned a novel that will not soon be forgotten by anyone who reads it! Paul Goat Allen

Publishers Weekly
Fans of Ringo's military SF epics (Into the Looking Glass) may at first think Mike Harmon, the hero of this unusual novel, is cut from the same cloth as Mike O'Neal from the Posleen War series (Watch on the Rhine, etc.). Like O'Neal, Harmon is a former Navy SEAL trying to adjust to civilian life who gets sucked back into action by circumstances, in particular by his witnessing the kidnaping of a college coed by jihadists. It becomes clear, though, that Harmon has a darker side, to which, by late in the book, as illustrated by a shocking scene in a Bosnian brothel, Harmon has almost completely surrendered. More techno-thriller than SF, this is a picaresque tale about a modern Barry Lyndon who resists, with equivocal results, baser instincts brought out by extreme stress. It's refreshing to find a successful popular writer who's not afraid to try something different, and the adventurous reader will find Ringo's latest insightful, exciting and outrageously funny. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Publication date:
Ghost Series , #1
Edition description:
Reprinted Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.90(w) x 4.30(h) x 1.20(d)

Read an Excerpt


By John Ringo

Baen Books

Copyright © 2005 John Ringo
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1-4165-0905-4

Chapter One

Mike Harmon stuck his laptop in his jump bag and tossed the latter over one shoulder, standing up and stretching his back. He had been sitting in the coffee shop for nearly three hours and he wasn't as young as he used to be. Fifteen years in the teams had left him with degenerative damage in half the major joints in his body and a back that was compacted enough for a fifty-year-old.

As he wandered out of the shop, he glanced at his image in the plate glass window and grimaced. Brown hair, brown eyes, a "regular" face, neither handsome nor ugly, shoulders a bit wider than the norm, middle beginning to bulge a bit despite regular exercise. Not the most prepossessing figure and certainly not, by any stretch of the imagination, a big man on campus.

He'd thought that going back to college would be a cinch. With both his career and his marriage foundered on the rocks, time to go find some time in the sun. After years of eighteen-hour days, how hard could homework be? And then there were the lovely young coeds, long legs flashing by, skirts swirling and flirting, practically begging to be snapped up by a not particularly bad looking former SEAL.

Well, the homework wasn't actually that bad, or it wouldn't be if it weren't for the classes he had to take. History. How bad could it be? Greeks and Romans andPersians and the Renaissance. Egyptians and feudal lords and maybe memorizing a bunch of dead guys' names.

Little did he know. That was "old history." His current major course was "An Introduction to African Pre-Colonial History." As far as he'd been able to determine, his definition of what constituted "history" and the definition used by the University of Georgia History Department didn't come from the same dictionary. Sure, the old time historians made stuff up. Livy read like something written by Tom Clancy and Julius Caesar's Gallic Wars was written with political image in mind with only brief touches on reality, something like a Democratic stump speech. But it had brief touches on reality and it was at least written. Prior to the "colonization" period, Africa had no writing and, apparently, no problems worth discussing. His professor attributed every ill of Africa to the colonialism of the White Man, ignoring the ongoing tribal wars that dated back thousands of years, not to mention the Arab slave traders that benefited from them. He'd had to see the first episode of the mini-series Roots and had been loudly shushed when he started laughing in the first fifteen minutes. Slave traders didn't get off their boats and go chase bush-bunnies around. They bought them from Arabs, not fucking "Islamics," Ay-rabs. And the Arabs bought them from the tribes, who were constantly at war with each other.

Sometimes it was all Mike could do to not stand up and punch the stupid bastard, especially when he got started on "modern colonialism," by which he meant the War on Terrorism. Mike wanted to scream "Have you ever been in Mogadishu you ignorant son-of-a-bitch?" Hell, the conditions in Africa were better when the English and the Germans and even the French and the Belgians had been in charge. He'd read Conrad's Heart of Darkness a couple of times during down time on the teams. And he'd been in Congo, not that there was any trace of it going in or out. And Congo now was "Heart of Darkness" on fucking steroids. The only thing worse than having the Belgians in charge was having the fucking gomers handling things.

But, of course, the problem with the gomers wasn't that they were totally fucked up gomers. Oh, no, the problem with the gomers were all the fault of colonialism and "western military adventures." Well, he'd been on one "western military adventure" in Congo and as far as he was concerned the best thing to do was spray the whole damned place with anthrax, including the fucking gorillas, shoot anyone that tried to leave and start over.

Attitudes like this, of course, didn't sit very well with his professors. It also didn't fit very well with the pretty little airheads that were being fed a steady diet of leftist propaganda bullshit. And no matter how he tried, he'd always end up opening up his mouth and pointing out that it was leftist propaganda bullshit. That the problem with the gomers was their fucking culture, which was totally fucked up and had been before colonialization and was going to stay that way until somebody beat some sense into their heads. At which point terms like "militarist" and "baby-killer" and, with the real intellectuals, "myrmidon" would start getting tossed around.

What was funny was that some of the most leftist, ball-busting, bitches seemed to get off on his being a former team guy. There was one little brunette wearing a beret just like that fucking terrorist Che that he swore was getting ready to go down on him right in the middle of the damned argument. But he'd blown her off instead. The hell if he'd get told he was a mindless myrmidon and then fuck the little bitch.

Sooner or later, something was going to give. His really bad side was starting to peek out and that was something he feared more than failure. It violated the warrior code. Courage in Battle, Loyalty to the King, Protection of the Innocent. Sometimes it seemed it was the only thing he had left. He was not going to become a fucking rapist.

He'd always managed to restrain that side of himself, even with the Philipino B girls and the Thailand whores, when it didn't matter what you did, as long as you paid the mamasan. One of the reasons he'd just left the little bitch in the beret hanging was if he'd taken her home it would have been a grudge fuck, with emphasis on "grudge." And she'd have gone home sorry and sore. Which was all well and good if it was lined out in advance and agreed to by both parties. But that wasn't where that particular relationship was going.

So his right forearm got over developed, his anger got hotter and hotter and there didn't seem to be any release in sight. He very much needed to kill someone. Just about anyone would do, but one of the little airhead bitches was getting even farther up the list than his professors.

Thoughts like that had carried him, unthinking, to the areas by the library and the English department buildings. His path wasn't even vaguely in the direction of his apartment; in fact it was in the opposite direction. But there were quiet pathways where occasional young ladies wandered by, most of them so totally fucking oblivious they wouldn't have noticed if he threw a rock in their direction. It was a sick addiction with a very specific name: "stalking." He'd pick a dark spot, stand still as if he were simply drinking in the night and wait. Sooner or later some brainless bitch would walk past, totally defenseless.

Sometimes, just to get a rise out of them, he'd cough. And they'd notice the dark figure in the shadows, their eyes would get wide and they'd hurry past. He never looked at them then, he'd totally ignore them, but he could tell by their hurried steps, quite often clicking away in their high heels, how much he'd frightened them. Sick, but oh so very fun. And he considered it to be instructional for the little idiots. It might teach them to keep some situational awareness.

He also considered it keeping in training. There were plenty of non-idiots among the girls on campus, girls who knew damned well that college campuses had the highest rate of rape in the U.S. And, nine times out of ten, even with the ones who were alert, he could avoid being seen even standing in plain sight. His team name was "Ghost" and it had been hard earned. It was an ability he'd had even before he was on the teams and one that he'd raised to a high pitch in various third world shitholes. He could just ... blend.

If he put on local clothes and spent some time watching local moves, he could move among the populace of half the world unnoticed. A little heavy-set, jaw a little square, shoulders a little broad, but nobody seemed to take that into account. Grow a little stubble, cover his haircut and he was anything from an Arab to an Afghan. As long as he didn't open his mouth: he'd never had language training and his Arab extended to "where's the bathroom" and "lie on the floor and put your hands on your head."

The spot he'd chosen overlooked Baldwin Street, which ran between the English building, Park Hall, and the Military Science Building. He'd thought about going ROTC and maybe bucking for an Army commission. But even with his background his physical damage-he was paid for being "50% disabled" and might go as high as 100% in time-made it unlikely that even the Army would give him a commission. And if he did get one, at his age, he'd probably end up in supply or civil affairs or some such bullshit. Better to eat the shit at the college, get his history degree and go looking for a teaching job. Coach track or swimming, teach history and just ... veg.

He stopped vegging as he spotted a nice young quarry, blonde, nice tits in a midriff top, ruffled miniskirt revealing long, shapely legs and black high heels clicking along on the sidewalk heading west on Baldwin. The fashions had come together nicely in the last year with just about everything a heterosexual male wanted to see women wearing being the "in" thing. It was like some over-sexed ancient Greek god had told fashion designers exactly what he wanted them to push. She was probably coming back from some of the clubs over on Broad-she was "club" dressed-headed down to the dorms along Lumpkin. And too stupid to stay to the more traveled and lighted ways. Probably a freshman, he thought.

It was as professional a snatch as he'd ever seen. The custom van slowed down, the door opened, a man stepped out in a trot, the bag went over the blonde's head, she was lifted into the van before she could even start kicking, the door closed and the van started to accelerate. It took no more than a couple of seconds. As far as Mike could tell there was no one in sight of the snatch, certainly no one in easy view and if you hadn't been looking right at the girl you probably wouldn't have been able to process it. Whoosh. The girl was just ... gone.

Except the van had to stop at the west end of Park Street, where it intersected Lumpkin, and Mike realized he was already down the hill in a sprint, off the low wall by the sidewalk, his jump bag banging on his back as he accelerated down the middle of the road, no cars in sight and it kept him out of the view, mostly, of the driver. The van started to pull out onto Lumpkin and Mike leapt upwards, landing lightly on the ladder at the back of the van, crouched. If he lost track of the van the girl was going to disappear, probably into an unmarked grave.

He knew that, at heart, he was a rapist. And that meant he hated rapists more than any "normal" human being. They purely pissed him off. He'd spent his entire sexually adult life fighting the urge to use his not inconsiderable strength to possess and take instead of woo and cajole. He'd fought his demons to a standstill again and again when it would have been so easy to give in. He'd had one truly screwed up bitch get completely naked, with him naked and erect between her legs, and she still couldn't say "yes." And he'd just said: "that's okay" and walked away with an amazing case of blueballs. When men gave in to that dark side, it made him even more angry than listening to leftist bitches scream about "western civilization" and how it was so fucked up.

The van was an older modern custom van like Mexicans tended to drive and from inside he could hear the struggle going on and the muffled cries of the girl followed by slaps. While it made one side of him angry as hell, another side was so turned on he could barely stand it. But the good news was unless somebody saw him on the back of the van and vectored in the police, he stood a good chance of being able to kill someone and not go to jail. This was probably a bunch of fucking illegales who'd decided they wanted to party with a coed. And they were going to be seriously fucked up, armed or not, as soon as this damned van stopped. He might even get laid out of it, if not by the blonde, who was going to be pretty fucked up from this experience, then by some girly who'd take pity on the poor hero.

The van headed south on Lumpkin through the university area and towards the south side of town. It was late and if anyone saw him he couldn't tell. There weren't even any cars behind the van or he'd have waved at them or something. He wanted to get his mad out by killing some of the bastards in the van, they were ripping cloth now, but he figured at least trying to be the "good citizen" instead of the "vigilante" would be a good idea. He couldn't bring in the police himself, he'd left his cell phone charging by his bed before going to class and hadn't been home to pick it up. And unless someone saw him soon, the van would get into darker, and less populated, areas where he might never get spotted.

He kept hanging on to the ladder, swinging through turns, crouched down to stay out of sight, half hoping some cop cruiser would pull up behind them and half hoping it wouldn't. Most of the cops stayed up towards the center of Athens on Friday and Saturday, closer to the action. And, proverbially, there was never a cop around when you needed them. This time, especially. Not even any fucking cars. The van had gotten off of Lumpkin and into neighborhoods that were mostly dark this time of night. Neighborhoods with speed bumps that were a real bitch to hang on through. The route appeared to be planned and he started wondering if he was really dealing with a group of Mexes. The snatch looked professional, to his trained eye, and the egress also looked professional. Which either made it a group of long term serial rapists, even funner to kill, or ... something else.

The van finally pulled into an industrial complex, closed and dark, and slowed through a series of turns. Mike got a look at a dead end, a parking lot with a few cars, a person standing in the shadows and ...

He was off the back of the van, tumbling as quietly as he could into a roadside ditch, before his mind fully processed the MP-5 the sentry was holding. He hadn't seen any phone booths in miles, the buildings around the guarded one were all dark which meant no getting to a phone easily. And a sentry meant that this wasn't just a simple snatch for pussy, this was ... something else.

He dropped the jump bag and leopard crawled down the ditch, heading for the building. The sentry was at the front and his brief glimpse hadn't spotted one on the side. But there were some windows. He needed more intel before he figured out how to call in support and the windows might tell him something.

As soon as he was around the side and out of sight of the front sentry he leopard crawled across to the wall of the brick building and crouched in the shadows at the base. The window was about eight feet up, which was a long damned jump for a guy who was five ten and a bit out of shape, and he knew he didn't dare make much sound. He squatted and then sprung upward, his hands clamping onto the narrow sill, the entire evolution completed in near perfect silence. He waited for a moment to listen for reaction, then slowly chinned himself up to the window.

The room was mostly open with some metal boxes that looked a bit like coffins lining the walls. The van was parked inside and there was a container vehicle pulled in with its doors open. The blonde, now sans everything but bra and panties, tied hand and foot with fast-strips and with a gag stuffed in her mouth, was on the ground near a table in the middle. One of the boxes was being loaded into the container vehicle and, as he watched, the doors were closed and the vehicle pulled out. It was a red container with "OCCP" on the back and a symbol like a flower. The doors were dented towards the top. The license plate was out of view. He got all of that in one brief glance and then went back to examining the room.


Excerpted from Ghost by John Ringo Copyright ©2005 by John Ringo. Excerpted by permission.
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

A veteran of the 82nd Airborne, he brings first-hand knowledge of military operations to his fiction. In addition to his nationally best-selling techno-thriller novels about Mike Harmon, his novels for Baen include the novels in the New York Times best-selling Posleen War series (A Hymn Before Battle, Gust Front, When the Devil Dances, and Hell's Faire), the Council War series (There Will be Dragons, Emerald Sea, Against the Tide, and East of the Sun, West of the Moon), the novel Into the Looking Glass, four collaborations with fellow New York Times bestselling author David Weber (March Upcountry, March to the Sea, March to the Stars and We Few) and three collaborative spinoffs from the Posleen series: Hero (with Michael Z. Williamson), Watch on the Rhine (with Tom Kratman) and the New York Times best seller Cally's War (with Julie Cochrane).

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Ghost 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After watching a developing author come to life in his "There Will be Dragons" series, this was a terrible disappointment, and closed my door on John Ringo. Why turn to trash with an unstable "hero" who gets his jollies getting off on sadism and sexual games of dominance? Why waste one third of a book on detailed pornographic descrptions with two girls? And maybe worst of all, why throw away all those credentials of a potentially excellent author? The "Dragons" series had real characters, a full and complex story line, and a rich background as it unfolded. You associated with the characters, and it became natural to get involved in the excellent action sequences. It was also writtetn very well, and walked you through successive events, each more dramatic than the previous. In this case, there's this improbable throwback who is very much like a comic book hero minus the deviate behaviot- he takes punishment, gets shot, survives a nuclear explosion, lives through a transatlantic flight in the upressurized nose wheel compartment of a jst, and yet is capable of single-handedly wiping out a battalion of bad guys. A little like reading the old Captain America series. Basically, no substance, impossible heroics, and cheap plots where the bad guys just all manage to get shot at the hero's feet. Pure pulp. No need for an "author" to produce junk like this. comic books.
Anonymous 10 months ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I looked forward to reading another John Ringo book, and boy! was I disappointed. If I wanted to read pornography, I would have ordered it. The first part of the book was good. Lots of action, and a complicated character. However, 'Book 2' was totally horrible. I was grossed out by the sado-masochistic garbage.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had to quit reading this. The first third of the book, covering the abduction and rescue of the co-eds, seemed a little raw, but kept me going hoping for a bit more action and less sexual degradation. No such luck. After the protagonist goes south, so does the book, if possible. Glorifying rape and sadomasochism, it reads like a middleschool student's testament to his macho, macho manhood. Truly revolting. The only deep dialog seems to be trying to convince women not to become either lesbians or liberals because they were raped. Please. Pass the lighter fluid, I've got to burn this one before my kids see it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read all of Ringo's books, but after reading this book, I will purchase no more of his books. I don't see anything entertaining about degrading and raping women. This is a vulgar book. Librarians should refuse to purchase this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had been a fan of Ringo's for awhile now, but Ghost has finished that for me. In the world we have today, there are too many abductions and rape going on to have someone try to glorify a hero with it. Whether you pay for it or just take it, rape is rape. I found no entertainment value in this book, it was just sick.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was so terrible that I could not finish reading it. It is a trio of books contained in one binding. The main character is based upon a 15 year veteran of the Navy Seals. A truely dangerous and wild ride through book one, the character is a walking container of nitro, ready to explode at any moment. He seems to be a Richard Marcinko on steroids, cocaine, LSD, heroine, and any other illicit drug a person could think of. Then add in his sexual sado-masochisitic tendencies in book two and you have something that would only bee good to use under the foot of a table to keep it level. I could not finish book two as it was, the only word to discribe it was stupid. This character makes the recently caught BTK killer seem like normal. If you are into this type of scene, then by all means read the book, you will enjoy it.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Well written as always
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Mythril545 More than 1 year ago
So the main character is a violent, deviant, male chauvinist ex-special forces member. ..sounds like a good start to me. Yeah it was a bit blunt at points but if anything that just keeps misunderstandings down. You never have to wonder which way Ghost will choose, he may be not have much of a conscience but he is the good guy (mostly). Enjoy the Ghost series like you enjoy a good action movie. Explosions, big guns, evil bad guys, tough good guys, and a lil sex thrown in. Very fun read.
Hellfire6A More than 1 year ago
Sorry. I started reading Scifi when I was 12. I love Military Scifi the most. I have loved Robert Heinlein. I loved David Drake (still do). But, I also know the demographic this type of book is most popular with...teenage boys. I will never, never, never read another John Ringo book. Cally's War was bad enough, but this is crap. Might as well be Bondage and Domination porn...it is actually a primer for someone wanting to get into the B&D scene. And this is aimed at teenage boys! John Ringo I salute you for your service to your country. I was a Captain in the Army too, so don't think that is going to mean I'll give you any slack for this. Shame on you and shame on Baen books for producing this drivel. I really liked your O'Neal books...this was an ultimate fail for you.
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