Tom Clancy's Op-Center: Out of the Ashes

Tom Clancy's Op-Center: Out of the Ashes

4.0 14
by Dick Couch, George Galdorisi
     
 

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A New York Times bestseller!

Tom Clancy's Op-Center is back with this new thriller written by the New York Times bestselling authors of Tom Clancy's ACT OF VALOR and featuring a chilling, ripped-from-the-headlines scenario.

Before 9/11 America was protected by a covert force known as the National Crisis

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Overview

A New York Times bestseller!

Tom Clancy's Op-Center is back with this new thriller written by the New York Times bestselling authors of Tom Clancy's ACT OF VALOR and featuring a chilling, ripped-from-the-headlines scenario.

Before 9/11 America was protected by a covert force known as the National Crisis Management Center. Commonly known as Op-Center, this silent, secret mantel guarded the American people and protected the country from enemies. The charter was top secret and Director Paul Hood reported directly to the president. Op-Center used undercover operatives with SWAT capabilities to diffuse crises around the world, and they were tops in their field. But after the World Trade Center disaster, in the interest of streamlining, OP-Center was disbanded-leaving the country in terrible danger.

But when terrorists detonate bombs in sports stadiums around the country leaving men, women and children dead or mutilated, the President executes an emergency order to bring back Op-Center-an Op-Center capable of dealing with the high tech crises of the 21st Century, and there is a lethal one brewing in the Middle East. A renegade Saudi Prince with ambitions of controlling the world's oil supply has an ingenious plot to manipulate America into attacking Syria and launching a war against Iran. Next, they would ignite a sleeper cell to attack the America homeland, resulting in a bloodbath unlike any other. Only the men and women of Op-Center, using sophisticated technology, realize what is about to be unleashed. Only they have the courage to issue a warning no one wants to hear. But will anyone believe them?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
03/17/2014
Fans of the original Op-Center series created by Tom Clancy and Steve Pieczenik that ended with Jeff Rovin’s War of Eagles (2005) will welcome this solid continuation from Couch (SEAL Team One) and Galdorisi (Coronado Conspiracy). The original Op-Center, “an information clearinghouse with SWAT capabilities,” fell under the budget ax and was disbanded, but after a horrific series of bombings at four NFL stadiums, U.S. president Wyatt Midkiff decides to dust off the Op-Center file and bring the group back to life. Chase Williams, a retired four-star Navy admiral, agrees to head the new center and hunt down the terrorists responsible for the devastating attack. The trail takes the men and women of the revitalized agency into the Middle East, where they find a new plot aimed at the American homeland. This thriller procedural packs plenty of pulse-raising action. The open ending promises more to come. Agent: Mel Berger, WME. (May)
New York Times bestselling author of Dangerous Gro Larry Bond

The U.S intelligence agencies have spent billions since 9/11 learning how to 'connect the dots.' But what if there are only one or two dots? Out of the ashes is a smoothly written story by two authors who understand the inner workings of U.S. intelligence, government, and the military, and tell a frightening and exciting tale about a very new, but also a very old threat.
New York Times bestselling author of Pirate Alley Stephen Coonts

Thriller addicts like me devoured every Tom Clancy's Op-Center tale. Now they are back, intricately plotted, with wonderfully evil villains and enough realistic military action and suspense to ruin a couple of night's sleep. Highly recommended.
bestselling author of The Seventh Angel and Sword Jeff Edwards

Op-Center is back with a vengeance! OUT OF THE ASHES isn't just a reboot of the Op-Center series; it's one of the best techno-thrillers to hit the shelves in a long time. Dick Couch and George Galdorisi have just raised the bar for military adventure fiction. Suit up, strap in, and hang on, because you're in for one hell of a ride.
Kirkus Reviews
2014-04-03
Even when it's been disbanded and its creator has died, you can't keep a good agency down—especially when it's as badly needed as Clancy's National Crisis Management Center. In the utterly dispensable 100-page warm-up, Kuwaiti businessman Abdul-Muqtadir Kashif avenges drunken football fans' attack on his wife by planting bombs in several NFL stadiums and causing panic in several more. After hundreds die, President Wyatt Midkiff tells retired Op-Center leader Paul Hood that he wants him to head a reborn Op-Center. Hood declines the honor but provides the perfect substitute: retired Adm. Chase Williams. In several extended foreplay sequences before the money shots, Williams recruits the experts and troops he needs, and then it's bye-bye Abdul. Curtain. Intermission. In the more substantial and risible Act 2, Saudi oil pipeline czar Prince Ali al-Wandi plots to get the U. S. to attack Syria by making what looks like a nuclear-tipped missile appear out of nowhere, apparently in the Syrian desert. His ruse works well enough to fool Capt. Pete Blackman, commander of the USS Normandy, who suddenly finds his ship in a war zone, but not civilian naval analyst Laurie Phillips, who's working aboard the Normandy. When Laurie persuades squadron pilot Lt. Sandee Barron to fly her over the spot where the nuke's supposed to be sitting, the two women are shot down and face the worst a scheming Arab warlord can dish out. Paging the Op-Center, which turns the whole situation around, except for the little matter of 1,500 innocent American casualties. The authors (Tom Clancy Presents: Act of Valor, 2012), who are becomingly careful not to outshine their model as prose stylists, provide many details about weapons systems, lots of acronyms and some unforgettable dialogue, as when the president yells at his unexpectedly peacenik defense secretary: "Jack, dang it. You're my SECDEF!"

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781250026828
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
05/20/2014
Series:
Tom Clancy's Op-Center Series
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
400
Sales rank:
5,815
File size:
1 MB

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Read an Excerpt


CHAPTER ONE
 
 
New York City
(September 6, 2230 Eastern Daylight Time)
He didn’t particularly like being in America, and especially didn’t enjoy being in New York City. However, Abdul-Muqtadir Kashif was above all else a businessman and this was business.
Kashif was Arab, wealthy, and, from outward appearances, quite Westernized. He was in his midfifties, slim, fit, well-educated, and sophisticated. His eyes were alert but not predatory, and he had a disarming smile. Kashif wore his hair stylishly long but well barbered and kept his goatee and mustache neatly trimmed. He was Kuwaiti by birth and citizenship, but he kept elegant, if not lavish, homes in Paris, London, and Mumbai as well as a primary residence in Kuwait City. He had but a single wife and three children, all girls, who he shamelessly spoiled. He read the Koran often and found the teachings of the Prophet made for an ideal guide for a good and productive life, yet, by and large, he rejected any literal interpretation of the book. Abdul-Muqtadir Kashif was one of those men who his London and Parisian acquaintances never seemed to see as an Arab or a Muslim. If they did, they were quick to comment, “That Abdul, what a splendid fellow. Why can’t more of them be like him?”
He permitted himself the indulgence of bringing his wife, Jumana, along on this short, three-day, business trip. It hadn’t been his idea. Somehow she found the shopping in New York superior to that of even London. What harm could come from making her happy by allowing her to busy herself trolling through the high-end boutiques on Fifth Avenue while he hammered out a business deal? Her chauffeur and escort would look out for her.
That same chauffeur had delivered them from their hotel, the Intercontinental New York Barclay, to the penthouse condo of his new business associate, who was hosting a small dinner party in their honor. They had bid their host good-bye and were riding in the swiftly descending elevator when Jumana turned to Kashif.
“My husband, it is such a beautiful night, and our hotel is only a short walk away. Would you just dismiss the chauffeur? We can enjoy an evening stroll together.”
Kashif did some quick mental calculations. It was a mere eight blocks walk to East 48th Street where the Intercontinental enjoyed a prominent location between Park and Lexington Avenues. What harm was there if it pleased her? She had, as she always did, charmed his new business associates. It was their last night in New York, a beautiful Sunday night with a full summer moon, and he was feeling exceptionally good about the deal he had struck. Perhaps being in America wasn’t so bad after all.
“Of course, my dear. It is a lovely evening.”
As they exited the building Kashif dismissed his driver and they set out walking south on Seventh Avenue. Jumana pulled her hijab tightly around her head, feeling the need for more modesty walking the streets in an American city than she might elsewhere. Abdul-Muqtadir Kashif was happy they had left the dinner party a bit early. The oafish American men there talked about little else than the opening of their football season that weekend. They were even rude enough to keep incessantly checking their smart phones for the progress of one of their hometown teams, the “Giants,” who, apparently, would have to save the city’s honor that evening in their Sunday night game. Their other team, the “Jets,” had lost badly earlier in the day.
As they approached 48th Street and prepared to turn east to reach the Intercontinental, Kashif saw commotion ahead as a number of men poured out of a sports bar. The sign on the bar read TONIC. How apt, he thought as he pulled Jumana close to him. They quickened their pace.
Then he heard them.
“He choked! They had them. Then he throws an interception. What a piece of meat. They need to get rid of him.”
“He’s a complete fraud. God, this is going to be a long season.”
“What a punk.”
“The Giants suck so bad!”
More men tumbled out of the bar, all obviously inebriated and clearly angry their team had lost.
He pulled Jumana closer and accelerated their pace even more, intending to give the swelling crowd of men a wide berth. Their language was growing fouler and they were now pushing and jostling each other. What juveniles. America is as decadent as many of my friends say it is.
Kashif thought about crossing 7th Avenue to avoid these contemptible men entirely, but the traffic was heavy even at this time of night. Turning around and walking back north was not an option he considered. He didn’t run from scum.
As they walked close to the curb to avoid the crowd of agitated fans, a large man on the outside of the pack bumped into Jumana.
“Ouch,” she said instinctively as she fought to keep her balance, still clutching her hijab.
Reflexively, Kashif stuck out his left hand to fend the man off as he tried to steady his wife with his right.
In his drunken stupor the man fell to the ground. “Shit,” he cried.
That got the attention of some of the other men and they tried to pick him up. Instinctively, Kashif attempted to go around the crowd, but instead he bumped into another man.
The man pushed back at him, looked at Jumana, and shouted, “Hey, watch it, you fucking ragheads.”
“You watch your mouth,” Kashif protested.
By now, the other men had been attracted to the commotion and surrounded Kashif and Jumana.
“Back off! You’re in our country, you stinking Arab. She part of your harem?”
“Get out of our way or I’ll call the police,” Kashif yelled as he pulled Jumana in a tight grip and he tried to push their way through the now roused pack of men.
“Good luck with that, camel jockey,” another man shouted.
From behind Jumana, a man grabbed her hijab. “So, let’s see what’s under here. What you hiding there, bitch?”
Kashif wheeled and threw a right roundhouse punch and staggered the man.
That was all it took. With one blow another man knocked Kashif to the ground. Jumana tumbled down with him. The enraged mass of men began stomping the two Kuwaitis. Fit and agile, Kashif was able to fend off many of the blows with his arms. Jumana was not so lucky. The men continued to stomp them, cursing and swearing at the two now-helpless people.
Suddenly, one of New York’s ever-present yellow cabs screeched to a stop right at the curb and the driver began honking his horn while shouting, “Hey, stop. Get the hell away from them.”
“Mind your own business,” one of the men shot back.
“I said, stop it!” the cabbie replied as he emerged from the cab, a gun in his right hand and a cell phone in his left. That he was white and overweight, and wore a Jets sweatshirt, meant nothing; all they saw was the big automatic. That was all it took for the men to turn and run.
The Good Samaritan rushed over and helped Kashif lift himself up. Jumana remained inert on the ground, a pool of blood spreading from under her head.
*   *   *
It had all been a blur for Abdul-Muqtadir Kashif. A New York Police Department cruiser had appeared minutes after the cabbie had called 911. Shortly after that, an ambulance had arrived. The EMTs placed Jumana on a gurney, started an IV, and put her in the ambulance. Lights flashing and siren blaring they raced south on 7th Avenue and east on 31st Street to reach the New York University Langone urgent care center on 1st Avenue.
Despite his protests, the doctors would not let him in the OR. He was put in a waiting room for those who were with critically injured patients. There he sat for over three hours, the worst three hours of his life, but the next few minutes were about to be more awful than those hours.
“Mr. Kashif?” the man with the green scrubs asked softly. He had coal black hair, soft brown eyes, the smooth olive skin and broad handsome features that marked him as of the upper caste. It was 0430, and in his state Kashif saw only the physician.
“Yes, yes, Doctor?”
“Sir, your wife will be wheeled into ICU recovery in a bit, but it may be some time before you can see her. Does she have an advanced directive?”
“Advanced directive?”
“Yes, an advanced directive. Sir, your wife has severe internal injuries and major head trauma. We’ve already removed her spleen and she has at least four broken ribs. I’m sorry, sir, but you must be prepared for the worst.”
Abdul-Muqtadir Kashif just gasped, but what would follow would be worse.
“Sir, would you sit down, please?” the doctor asked, gently taking Kashif’s arm and helping him into a chair.
“Mr. Kashif, I’m sorry to say your wife has suffered major head trauma and is in a deep coma. We have taken an initial MRI and based on those results we’ve woken up our chief neurologist and he’ll be arriving in less than an hour. We’ll know more then, but I can’t tell you with certainty your wife will ever wake up. That’s why I asked you if she had an advanced directive—in the event her injuries are irreversible.”
“I want to see her.”
“Sir, you can’t see her. She wouldn’t know you were there anyway, and she’s surrounded by doctors, nurses, and life-support equipment.”
“Please, I want to see her,” Kashif implored.
Something in his pleading eyes moved the doctor. “Only through the ICU glass, all right?”
“Yes.”
Kashif hardly even remembered the doctor steadying him as if he were a tottering old man as they walked the short distance to the ICU room that contained his once-vibrant wife.
His eyes went wide with horror at the sight of Jumana. He broke free from the doctor and ran back the way he had come, weeping bitterly. The doctor followed closely behind.
Kashif collapsed in a chair in the waiting room, still sobbing openly, as the doctor sat down with him, putting his steady hand on his shoulder. “Sir, is there someone we can call for you?”
“No.”
“Are you staying nearby?”
“Yes.”
“Sir, can I get you something; a sedative perhaps?”
“No. No. I just need to make some calls. You’ve been very kind. I will be all right here.”
Reluctantly, the doctor had left Kashif alone in the waiting area. An hour had passed and Kashif had sat doing nothing but thinking. He knew he should call his oldest daughter, now sixteen, back in Kuwait City, tell her what had happened, and have her break the news to her two younger sisters. Yet what news? That their mother might be a vegetable for the rest of her life? He couldn’t find the right words, so that call would have to wait.
Kashif felt the bile building and his rage simmering. He had led a good and righteous life and followed the teachings of the Prophet—to a point. What had just happened to them would not stand. Their life had been so blessed. Now it was all but ended and ended by drunken Americans angered by nothing more than the fact their sports team had lost. This was worse than Europe and their stupid soccer! They needed to pay and they needed to pay as dearly as he was now paying.
Most Americans shared the misconception that all Arabs who had wealth were distant cousins of some Middle East monarch, but Abdul Kashif was more than just another wealthy Arab, though few who knew him thought of him as anything more. He was too quiet, too reserved, and not showy as were most Arabs who had money. Kashif had taken his family’s modest funds, his degree in finance from the London School of Economics, a work ethic that would have won approval from Warren Buffett, and the underworld connections of an unsavory uncle from his wife’s side of the family, and had amassed a considerable fortune. It now amounted to several hundred million dollars. He was wealthy and now, for the first time in his life, he was consumed with rage—rage and the desire for revenge.
Some Arabs with the financial resources of Abdul-Muqtadir Kashif contributed to radical Arab causes. Those who did secreted these funds to Arab charities from which a good portion of the money found its way into the offshore accounts of those who ran the charities. Those monies that did find their way to a serious terrorist organization like al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula were used by Arabs aligned with AQAP to kill other Arabs. Kashif had no intention of spending his hard-earned money that way.
While he was consumed by rage and the need for revenge, he was not blinded by it. If America was to be punished for what had just happened to him and his beloved Jumana, then it needed to be done professionally and with some precision. A strike like the one Osama bin Laden and Mohammad Atta had brought about on 9/11 was no longer possible. The Americans were too well prepared to allow a repeat of that event. However, there had to be a way, Kashif thought. He was a businessman, and there was always a way.
He picked up his cell phone and called a particularly capable and discreet Lebanese who sometimes worked for his wife’s uncle and arranged for him to fly to New York. With that single call, he had set in motion the events that would once again bring America to its knees.

 
Copyright © 2014 by Jack Ryan Limited Partnership and S&R Literary, Inc.

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