Hot on the trail of a bank official who is laundering money for an al Qaeda-sponsored terrorist cell, Rogue Warrior Richard Marcinko finds himself in the thick of a covert operation run by the CIAa.k.a. the Christians in Action. Angry that their operation has been ruined, the CIA demands that Marcinko and his Red Cell International group work for them. He agrees, then gets into a situation so dire only SEAL Team Six can extricate him.
While grateful for help from the unit he helped establish, Marcinko realizes there's a lot more going on than the CIA will admitand when the investigation leads to a luxury liner loaded with explosives and contraband heading toward the United States, he recruits members from the original SEAL Team Six to help. But will the old-timers and young bucks be enough to prevent disaster in a US port?
About the Author
RICHARD MARCINKO is a living, breathing hero. After serving in Vietnam, he started and commanded SEAL Team 6, the Navy's first counterterrorist command, and Red Cell, a high-level antiterrorist unit whose exploits, fictionalized for security and legal reasons, have formed the basis of his novels.
JIM DeFELICE is the author of many military based thriller novels and is a frequent collaborator with Stephen Coonts, Larry Bond, and Richard Marcinko, among other New York Times bestselling authors.
Read an Excerpt
Curse of the Infidel
By Richard Marcinko, Jim DeFelice
Tom Doherty AssociatesCopyright © 2013 Richard Marcinko and Jim DeFelice
All rights reserved.
"You are an infidel and will confess to slandering the name of the most holy and sacred Prophet, sacred be His name!"
As the voice screamed, a stick snapped across my back. The stick, long and thin, was made of plastic. It hadn't hurt much the first time it touched my skin. But that was over an hour and a hundred flails ago. Now every swat felt like I was being smacked by a baseball bat.
A bat spiked with 20-penny nails.
"You will confess!" shouted my tormentor. "You will fall on your knees before the one true God, blessed be His holy name."
"Screw yourself," I said between my gritted teeth.
"Confess! Or we will beat salvation into you!"
I was seeing a part of Saudi Arabia that the Tourist Board doesn't advertise. You can call it the belly of the beast; to my mind, it's a much lower part of the anatomy.
"Do you confess?"
Under intense international pressure a few years back, the Saudi government reformed its prison system. The new rules give certain guidelines for "corrective measures" — that is, beating the crap out of a prisoner. The "corrector" must hold a book under his arm while administering lashes. The idea was to keep the torturer from raising the cane too high over his head.
I can attest that the letter of the law was observed in this case. I even know the title of the book, which was an illustrated comic collection entitled Brave Men in Saudi History. The book, four pages long (two of them were blank), was duct-taped to his underarm.
Somewhere around whack number sixty-eight, I had begun fantasizing about what I would do to the bastard with the stick. My thoughts were very creative, and in no case would the stick have been recognizable as a stick when I was done.
By now, though, I was beyond any sort of fantasy. I was, as the football playby-play analysts put it, grinding it out. I just hoped the end of the game wasn't going to be signaled by a gun.
The Apaches, among other Native American tribes, have an especially useful mechanism for dealing with intense pain. I adopted it now, focusing my concentration on a point just outside my body. As the beatings continued, my mind stepped away and observed the scene.
This got me through another thirty or forty lashes. Finally the pain overwhelmed my body and I blacked out. Oblivion was a welcome reprieve, but it didn't last long. I came to only a few minutes later, as I was being dragged along a dank and dark cement corridor.
I have no idea why the corridor was dank — the prison I was in was located at the edge of the Saudi desert, which has to be one of the driest places on earth. But dank it was. Moss, crud, and slime water blended into a horrendously smelling mélange between the inlaid stones of the floor. I tried not to breathe.
I'm far from a connoisseur, but I think I can say with some authority that Saudi jails are among the worst in the world. It doesn't even take that much to get into them. The surest way is by opposing the government or insulting the royal family, but you can get there with much lesser offenses if you know what you're doing. Drink a beer in your yard or drive a car with a woman who's not your wife — supposed outrages to Islam — and you will land there in a flash, even if you're a foreigner. Even random victims of crime who had the audacity to file police reports have found themselves guests of the state.
They were lying, you see. Because the Kingdom is PERFECT, and thus there is no crime, and anyone who says different is a slanderer who deserves to lose his tongue.
Being a traditionalist, I had chosen an oldie but a goldie to ensure my incarceration: I had insulted the Prophet and the Kingdom by proselytizing a vermin religion.
Said religion being Coptic Hinduism, which I had invented solely for the purpose of running afoul of the authorities.
Not that Coptic Hinduism preaches violence or anything remotely touching on the state or other religions. It borrows freely from all pantheons and pathways, seeking peaceful coexistence with all. We're not much on sacraments, and the heavy burden of conversion is best left to those of other beliefs. In fact, the most definite (and important) thing you can say about it, at least in the context of Saudi Arabia, is that it is not Islam, and therefore fit for repression.
The two guards dragging me to my cell were kindly fellows, and they tried cheering me up along the way by shouting various slogans in Arabic.
"You're a blessed fellow!"
"You're going to be very popular in jail!"
"Now you will have a real chance to pray."
My Arabic is mostly of use in brothels and street fights, so maybe my translation is a little soft. I will say that the others in my cell, all twelve of them, welcomed me with open arms and hard feet as I was hurled into the tiny space.
Walled by solid concrete on three sides, the room was roughly eight by six feet and smelled of sweat and human excrement. I curled myself into a corner at the back, hoping to be left alone.
Unfortunately, one of my fellow inmates had deputized himself as the Welcome Wagon. As he bent over me, a shiv appeared in his hand and he took a swipe at my face.
Coptic Hinduism has very strong precepts against having your face cut up and eyeballs gouged out. It has been heavily influenced by what many readers will recall as the Rogue Warrior's First Commandment:
Do unto others before they do unto you.
I decided that this was a good time to do some preaching. My opening text was a fist to the nether regions of my new congregant. This was followed by a fist to the throat.
The convict was impressed. He had never before encountered the spiritual depth of Coptic Hinduism.
Still, he was firm in his own primitive convictions, and pressed forward in his attempt to make a blood sacrifice to his gods. While I wanted nothing to do with such primitive religious practices, my retreat was cut off by the thick and immovable wall behind me.
He cut a halo across my forehead. I decided to return the favor by encouraging him to kneel and reflect on the holy light of the universe. Given that he was clearly devout, all he needed was a little push.
I sent him sprawling against the nearby wall. The others were looking on anxiously, perhaps hoping for their chance at conversion as well. So I leapt up, grabbed the little knife that had fallen from my convert's hand, and baptized him in the name of the Rogue, the Warrior, and the decidedly Unfriendly Ghost.
Duly impressed, the others backed away.
Exhausted by my spiritual experience, I dragged myself to the corner of the cell.
* * *
You may very well be wondering what I was doing in Saudi Arabia in the first place.
The truth was I was here to find another American, Garrett Taylor. Garrett was the son of a friend of mine; he'd gotten into a bit of trouble in the Kingdom Oil Built a few days before. I'd heard that he was currently a guest at this esteemed Saudi institution. I had therefore posed rather ostentatiously as a preacher in hopes of meeting him.
Be careful what you wish for.
* * *
Not long after the blood stopped flowing from the neck of my new convert, a series of loud shouts announced the approach of the guards. We were ordered to clear the cell. I got up, hiding my shiv in the waistband of my pants. My knees were creaking and my spine felt as if it had been removed from my body and rearranged in a random pattern. Being last made me a target for the guards, who proceeded to give me a series of gentle love taps as a reward.
I thought they were coming to investigate the ruckus, but they made no move to do so beyond kicking over the limp body of my follower. I kept my head low and eyes peeled as I stumbled down the hall. When we came to the end of the corridor, we took a turn right and made our way up a set of concrete steps. Two guards behind me very kindly assisted my progress with a few kicks; otherwise I was left alone.
We were led to the courtyard behind the building. Stumbling, I took my place at the end of a line of prisoners who were kneeling in the direction of Mecca. I'm not very big on praying, especially to Allah; a guard watching the line helped me into position with a punch between my shoulder blades; I put my head down and caught my breath as a loudspeaker began barking the call to prayers.
A few phrases into the proceeding, I recovered enough to raise my head slightly and look around for Garrett. There were maybe a hundred inmates in our little corner of paradise; none looked even remotely like the man I'd come to rescue.
Prayers over, the inmates were allowed to walk for a few minutes before being led to dinner. I mingled silently. The courtyard was about twenty by fifty feet — spacious for a Saudi jail — and bounded by a high chain-link fence topped by barbed wire. There was another fence a short distance away, with another courtyard on the other side of that.
I circled around, mumbling to myself in a combination of random street Arabic and the occasional French and English. Anyone who heard me would think I was deranged — all in all, not a bad assumption, actually.
He didn't seem to be in our courtyard. I sidled next to the fence and slid down to my haunches.
"Garrett?" I asked, raising my voice loud enough to be heard in the neighboring yard. None of the men close to the fence looked anything like him.
Some of my cellmates had gathered nearby and started talking loudly. I couldn't make out what they were saying, but the glances they threw me convinced me I better pay some attention to them. I was just about to when someone pressed against the fence behind me.
"You? What are you doing here?" said a voice in perfectly enunciated English.
I turned and looked through the fence. A young man who looked remarkably like my old shipmate was staring through the chain links. His face was battered — eyes bloodshot, cheeks checkered with cuts, his left temple the color of an eggplant at harvesttime.
"Garrett Taylor?" I whispered, though I was sure I had found my man.
"Marcinko?" He shifted a bit, trying to get a better view. "Demo Dick? Here? Why?"
"I came to get you out."
He sounded a little more skeptical than I would have liked. Admittedly, his location in the other building presented a problem, but that was only temporary.
"You could sound a little more enthusiastic," I said.
"Well, we'll see how enthusiastic you are after you get the crap knocked out of you."
"That's already happened," I told him.
"I meant from them," he said, pointing.
I turned back around. Three of my cellmates were stalking across the small courtyard in my direction. They didn't look like they were in the mood for prayers.
* * *
But before I get pummeled, let's go back to the beginning of this twisted tale. Like Paul on the Road to Damascus, my route to enlightenment in the Saudi prison was anything but direct.
It started in Germany, a few days before, when I went to a bank to make a withdrawal ...
Actually, I had an experience many of us do when we go to a bank — I was shafted.
In my case, though, this wasn't a figure of speech. I was literally in an air shaft, die Luftshact, of a large international bank. The narrow, brick-lined vertical tunnel smelled of rotting garbage and at least one dead cat. It was also extremely dark. But it happened to be the easiest way into the computers used by the American International Bank, a modest institution of some $875 billion in deposits, with branches all over the world.
I'd been hired by the bank to investigate some suspicious transactions. The person who hired me, however, soon acted suspiciously himself. Which aroused further suspicions.
My thoughts shaded toward embezzlement. And here's the beautiful thing about that: federal law provides for a 15 to 30 percent "finder's fee" — also known as a Whistleblower's Tax — for exposing fraud. Slap some zeroes around and that's serious money, more than enough to endure all manner of discomfort, including the growls emanating from the stomach of my assistant, Paul "Shotgun" Fox, who was crawling up the shaft behind me.
"God, I'm hungry," griped Shotgun.
"When have you ever not been hungry?" I said. "Let's go. We have two more stories, then we'll be at the computer center."
In order to reach the air shaft, we had rappelled down a much larger one in the center of the building, crawled through a four-foot-square ventilation hole, and then begun climbing upward through the cramped rectangular space. The odd construction was the result of a long series of renovations to the building, performed over several decades. Pipes and several large bundles of wires ran up all four sides of the shaft. We had to avoid the temptation to use them as handholds — if they were broken, the penetration would be easily detected.
Feel free to insert the prophylactic joke of your choice.
I maneuvered myself diagonally, placing my hands between two boa constrictor–sized runs of wire, and pulled up against the bricks. A thick wedge of slime blocked my next handhold; I shifted around and found another.
When I pulled up I knocked my head against the top of the shaft.
Which shouldn't have happened for another two floors.
I glanced up, playing the small LED light around the ceiling. It was concrete, and fairly new.
I mentally recalculated, hoping I'd made a mistake and lost track of the floors. But I hadn't. The computer center was on the eighth floor of the building, and we were on the seventh.
"What's up?" asked Shotgun, coming up behind me.
"We're a floor short. I'm going to kill Shunt."
Shunt — Paul Guido Falcone — had stolen the building's architectural plans by hacking into the Berlin code enforcement office's computer system, where all the building plans were conveniently stored online. Apparently they hadn't been updated.
You could blame Murphy — the author of the ubiquitous law that states anything that can go wrong will go wrong, but only at the worst possible time. I preferred to blame my wop genius.
"Can we get through it?" asked Shotgun.
I pounded my knuckles against it, listening to see if it was hollow.
"Anyone home?" asked Shotgun.
Instead of dignifying that with a response, I reached into the pouch at my waist and took out the little Dremel tool I had there. I had to balance myself with one hand and use the drill with the other, which not only made my leverage weak but meant I was drilling on an angle as well. It was slow going.
I figured that if I could cut a small hole, I'd use the miniature crowbar I had in my ruck to hammer out the rest of the concrete. But the barrier was too thick; the Dremel's drill bit didn't go all the way through.
Worse, it snapped off about halfway around the hole. I put in a backup and completed the circle, but the plug wouldn't come out. Running the drill across the diameter of the circle, I snapped the new bit; that left me as the only functional item in the tool kit.
It was time to go to Plan B.
"This isn't going to work. We'll have to back out," I told Shotgun. "I'll tell Mongoose. Wait for me on the roof."
"Already heard," radioed Mongoose, aka Thomas Yamya. The team radios were set to always transmit. "Things are quiet out here."
Mongoose was in the rental up the block, listening to us on the radio circuit and monitoring the video cameras we'd planted around the building. The cameras — or "cams" — beamed their signals via satellite to a Red Cell Internet site. Mongoose accessed the site via a tablet computer in the car. The devices gave him a full view around the perimeter of the building, in effect doing the work of a small army of lookouts.
(The computer looks like an iPad, but has a number of improvements, including a faster processor and a proprietary operating system. I got it from a friend and Team Six plank owner, Frank Phillips, who first used it in one of his operations with Golden Seal Enterprises, a Class A training and special operations company. Shunt made a few customizations.)
Plan B called for us to enter via a bathroom on the floor where the data center was located. Getting into the room was easy — a fire escape ran right by the window. But according to the schematics Shunt had stolen, the hallway between the restroom and the computer center was protected by a motion detector. I'd have to defeat it before we could proceed.
Excerpted from Rogue Warrior by Richard Marcinko, Jim DeFelice. Copyright © 2013 Richard Marcinko and Jim DeFelice. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
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.
Table of Contents
Part One: Curse of the Infidel,
Part Two: Six, Drugs & Rock 'n' Roll,
Part Three: Scorched Earth,
Epilogue: All in the Family,
Also by Richard Marcinko,
About the Authors,