Strike Force (Patrick McLanahan Series #13)

Strike Force (Patrick McLanahan Series #13)

4.7 14
by Dale Brown
     
 

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The Battle For Control Of Iran . . . Begins In Space

When a disgraced former Iranian military chief of staff engineers an insurgency that threatens to destroy the theocratic regime in Iran, a new era appears to be dawning in the Middle East. But one must be wary of old enemies . . .

On the run from the Pasdaran, the

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Overview

The Battle For Control Of Iran . . . Begins In Space

When a disgraced former Iranian military chief of staff engineers an insurgency that threatens to destroy the theocratic regime in Iran, a new era appears to be dawning in the Middle East. But one must be wary of old enemies . . .

On the run from the Pasdaran, the theocrat's terror army, and unable to count on support from his friends in the regular army, Iranian rebel leader General Hesarak al-Kan Buzhazi desperately turns to his old nemesis, U.S. Air Force Lieutenant-General Patrick McLanahan, for help. Unwilling to commit American forces in an Iranian civil war, and with time running out, the U.S. president authorizes McLanahan to utilize a new, top-secret fleet of globe-crossing spaceplanes, the XR-A9 Black Stallions, led by test pilot and astronaut Captain Hunter Noble. Within hours, McLanahan's Air Battle Force turns the tide, possibly changing the course of history in the Middle East for generations.

The advent of almost instantaneous global reach, along with the reactivation of America's first military space station, Silver Tower, has rekindled fears of a space arms race, and the growing insurgency in Iran is threatening to erupt into a worldwide jihad. But McLanahan finds himself embroiled in even more bitter battles at the White House, between those who support his space-based military initiative and those who are working secretly to undermine it. When McLanahan is forced to concentrate on his political and personal battles back at home, it's left to Hunter Noble and his team of young American space engineers to keep the fires of freedom in the Middle East from exploding completely out of control.

Filled with the latest cutting-edge weaponry, geopolitical intrigue, high-flying suspense, and a colorful cast of characters, Strike Force is New York Times bestselling master Dale Brown at his best.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Bestseller Brown (Edge of Battle) takes the subject of his latest from current headlines—the rapprochement between Iran and Russia (the former wants to secure nuclear technology, the latter a new foothold in the Middle East). The emergence of an Iranian nuclear arsenal sets off a crisis, which the usual high-tech weaponry and clean-cut American flyboys (and now girls) deal with as effectively as ever in Brown's fictional world. The author presents his Iranian characters as more than cardboard villains, skillfully showing the influence of Islamic culture on their motivations. Of course, Brown also provides plenty of fast action and exotic hardware, like the XR-A9 space plane, plus such nice touches as a U.S. president who wants to make a space flight. Techno-thriller fans and aviation buffs will be well rewarded. (May)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

Brown brings back Lt. Gen. Patrick McLanahan in this technothriller that touches on events in today's headlines. Russia wants back in the Middle East, Iran wants nuclear arms, and a rebel Iranian general asks Patrick for help. Enter an experimental U.S. spaceplane, the XR-A9 "Black Stallion," and we have a story that takes place on the ground, in the air, and in space. The tale is very exciting and may make one wonder what may not be in the headlines today. This barn burner is ably read by Christopher Lane, who has a somewhat staccato delivery but is quite animated without being overdramatic. He is able to render credibly a range of accents for the various characters. Public libraries should consider.
—Michael T. Fein

Kirkus Reviews
Techno-thriller specialist Brown, who never met a weapons system, real or imagined, he could resist, piles them on in spectacular quantity, pitting his Air Force hero Patrick McLanahan (Air Battle Force, 2003, etc.) against everything Iran can throw at him and his gadgets. Those dumb bunnies in Congress. Will they ever learn that Lt. Gen. McLanahan, with his laser cannons, space fortresses, robots, drones, killer satellites and fuels of the future, always knows best how to handle the Dark Forces that threaten America. Alas, no. As usual, the knuckleheads in the capital and subversive members of the president's own staff are looking for ways to throttle funding for McLanahan's latest and most fabulous gizmo, "The Stud," a sleek aircraft capable of easing itself into outer space and orbiting while toting enough payload to incinerate several missile sites and God knows how many armies of terrorists. Who wouldn't want a fleet of such swell planes? Well, the usual dunderheads in the Pentagon-dinosaurs wedded to their old oxygen-breathing subsonic bombers and slow-as-molasses carrier task forces, systems that show up days late and dollars short against the ballistic threats wielded by the Ayatollah's loyal armies-that's who. And Iran is at the boil. There's a disgraced former head of the defense forces stirring up enough trouble that the Islamic Republic could erupt in civil war, and it's making the mullahs crazy. They're ready to fire off their secret supply of missiles at targets all over Europe, the Middle East and the Indian Ocean to defend their insane dreams. Fortunately for the free world, McLanahan never takes no for an answer, even when it comes from the top, and before the Persiansblow up the free world, McLanahan sends not only several Studs, but a handful of wonderful two-story-tall Tin Men-big, tough robots containing real live soldiers-to kick ass to Kingdom Qom. Equal-opportunity employer Brown's warrior gals achieve near parity with the gents, and there's a cute Persian princess. Oh, and Russians. Agent: Robert Gottlieb/Trident Media Group

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061752940
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/13/2009
Series:
Patrick McLanahan Series , #13
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
576
Sales rank:
77,933
File size:
1 MB

Read an Excerpt

Strike Force
A Novel

Prologue

Orumiyeh Airport
Islamic Republic of Iran
March 2008

"Group, atten-shun!"

The group of five hundred uniformed young men and women snapped to attention, and the reviewing party marched from their waiting position in a large white tent on the edge of the tarmac. The group leader saluted the reviewing party, who returned his salute. The reviewing party turned about-face as the flags of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic, the Ministry of the Interior, and the Internal Defense Corps were marched out. The presiding officer of the reviewing party saluted, as did the entire assembly, followed by the playing of "Ey Iran," a popular inspirational and patriotic song often preferred by the military over the pro-revolutionary official national anthem "Sorood-e Melli-ye Jomhoori-ye Eslami-ye Iran." After the song concluded, the presiding officer stepped up to a podium, and the crowd of about two thousand guests and base employees were asked to be seated.

"Citizens, friends, families, and fellow warriors, I bid you welcome on this glorious and important morning here in Orumiyeh," Major-General Hesarak al-Kan Buzhazi began. "I am proud to preside over this important occasion for the Islamic Republic of Iran. On behalf of His Holiness Imam Sayyed Mostafa Shirazemi, may God bless his name; president Masoud Ahmadad; senior adviser to the Supreme Defense Council His Holiness Hassan Mohtaz, may God preserve him; the chief of staff General Hoseyn Yassini; and the commander of the Revolutionary Guards Corps Lieutenant-General Muhammad Badi, I hereby activate the First CombinedBorder Defense Battalion."

There was a short ceremony, during which Buzhazi unfurled the battalion flag and tied the combat-ready ribbon atop it, then handed the flag to its new commander and saluted him. Tall and slender, with gray hair worn slightly on the longish side and with a closely cropped gray beard and mustache, Buzhazi looked much younger than his sixty-one years. He wore a dark winter-weight fatigue jacket with no insignia on it except his general's stars on his shoulders (but they were also black and hard to see from a distance), thick black fatigue pants, tanker boots, and a black visor cap with the earflaps folded up. He clasped the commander on the shoulders, kissed him on each cheek, returned his salute, and returned to the podium to finish his speech.

"I hope you all realize the significance of this ceremony today," Buzhazi went on. His voice was deep, sharp, and clipped, and he spoke without notes. "As you know, the Supreme Leader, may God protect him, has ordained that one out of every ten citizens of Iran over the age of majority serve in the active or reserve military forces, so in case the forces of evil attack us, we can be ready. As we are a peaceful nation, maintaining a force this large is difficult and expensive, so persons not serving in the active-duty military forces are assigned to local militias, the Basij-i-mostazefin, what used to be called the 'Army of the Oppressed.' I don't know about you, my friends, but I would not have liked being assigned to an army with the term 'oppressed' in its title.

"When I resigned my post as chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic and accepted the post of commander of the Basij, I found a force of willing and energetic men and women of all ages who desired nothing more than to serve their country, both as hard-working citizens and as defenders. What they lacked was proper training, motivation, and purpose. My goal was to transform the best of the Basij into a true fighting force, capable of not just assisting the active-duty forces, but complementing them. Ladies and gentlemen, and especially my fellow warriors, may I present to you, the First Combined Border Defense Battalion, The Lions, of the newly designated Islamic Republic of Iran Internal Defense Force!"

Amidst a round of enthusiastic applause, a procession of vehicles moved onto the tarmac from the north hangar area, surrounded by security guards in armored vehicles. The first vehicle was a ground support vehicle towing a single engine, two-man aircraft; the second was a road-mobile surface-to-air missile vehicle; and the third was a mobile anti-aircraft artillery vehicle.

"My friends, let me introduce you to the three main weapon systems now being deployed with the First," Buzhazi went on. "The aircraft is a Swiss-made Pilatus PC-6 turboprop aircraft. Normally these aircraft are just trainers—Switzerland does not build any of its aircraft to be used for combat—but we have modified them to act as close air support, photo-intelligence, and counter-insurgency attack aircraft. They even carry heat-seeking missiles to combat enemy aircraft.

"The second is an Almaz S-300 mobile surface-to-air missile launcher. It is designed to engage and destroy aircraft at very low altitude, even stealth aircraft, helicopters, and cruise missiles—it can even detect and destroy helicopters hovering close to the ground or behind trees; it also has an excellent high-altitude engagement capability, and is effective out to fifty kilometers. It is designed to deploy to isolated field locations so as to make it more difficult for enemy aircraft to target it. It is an older air defense system, but our best military engineers have upgraded and refurbished it so it is far better than new.

"The third vehicle is a 2S6M Tunguska anti-aircraft artillery system, with two 30-millimeter radar- or infrared-guided cannons, capable of a combined firing rate of five thousand rounds per minute, plus eight 9M311M anti-aircraft missiles, capable of destroying low- to medium-altitude targets out to a range of ten kilometers."

Buzhazi applauded along with the audience as the three weapon systems were towed right behind the unit members. It truly made a very impressive sight. Behind them, security and maintenance vehicles cruised slowly along the taxiway. "These weapons represent the first time a reserve force has been given such advanced weapon systems," Buzhazi went on. "I am proud to award this unit the combat-ready ribbon, which represents this unit's high marks in field exercises, testing, and inspections. I am pleased to present to you the officers and senior non-commissioned officers of each regiment. They are the most important element of this new, vital defense force that will ensure the security of our great nation. They have undergone a rigorous and intensive training program, trained not just to use these weapon systems but in how to best deploy them in case of national emergency, to counter whatever threat exists to our great land and defeat them. They are some of the best I have ever had the pleasure of commanding, and I am proud of each and every one of them."

As Buzhazi read the names and watched as the men came forward, he sensed a slight disturbance somewhere distant from the audience. He turned to look over his left shoulder but saw nothing out of the ordinary—plenty of security on hand to keep any curious onlookers from straying too close to the hardware.

He read off a few more names, but still that feeling persisted, and so this time he turned fully around and studied the area. A security vehicle with blue flashing lights on the roof was escorting what appeared to be a technical maintenance vehicle, basically a medium-sized eight-ton truck with a small crane on the front to load and unload missiles and ammunition. Both were common sights—why was he feeling so uneasy? Everything looked completely . . .

. . . and at that instant, the two vehicles quickly accelerated and headed straight for the ceremony area—and now Buzhazi could see a line of security cars and armored vehicles racing out of the hangar area toward them, lights and sirens on, pursuing the two vehicles!

"Get out!" Buzhazi shouted into the microphone. "Get out of here, now!" The crowd stood still, heads excitedly turning back and forth, but no one was moving. "I said, run! Everyone run!" He turned to a couple of guards who were standing about thirty meters away, AK-47 rifles slung on their shoulders. "You! Guards! Stop those vehicles!"

But it was too late. Buzhazi had enough time to run away from the podium toward the base operations building, wildly motioning for the crowd to follow him, when the truck plowed into the S-300 surface-to-air missile launcher. There was a small explosion, perhaps from a bit of gasoline ignited by a spark . . . and then seconds later the thousand kilos of high explosives packed into the rear of the truck detonated. Buzhazi felt himself picked off his feet by a red-hot wave of energy, along with pieces of concrete, burning fuel and metal, and body parts, and flung through the air.

Strike Force
A Novel
. Copyright © by Dale Brown. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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