After surviving the attacks on September 11, 2001, Dan Lenson finds himself quickly drawn into a covert SEAL team in search of the terrorists responsible. Their mission: kill Osama Bin Laden.
On the morning of September 11, 2001, Commander Dan Lenson is visiting the Pentagon, and his wife is at a job interview at the World Trade Center. In the action-packed scenes that follow, Dan fights his way through flames and destruction to safety, and tries to reach his wife on her cell phone, but the terrifying few seconds before they're cut off do nothing to calm his fears.
Dan immediately becomes involved in the military reaction to the attack. His SEAL team is assigned to Task Force Rhino, a mission that takes him to Afghanistan and the borders of Pakistan in order to hunt down, capture, or kill Osama bin Laden and other senior members of the Taliban government and al Qaeda leadership.
The 13th Dan Lenson novel, The Towers is a fascinating, accurate depiction of the events of September 11 and the military response, informed by sources in the Navy, the SEALS, the NCIS, and the author's own military experience. Full of fast-paced sequences and heart-pumping drama, David Poyer takes the reader into the center of the action and face-to-face with the terrorist enemy.
About the Author
DAVID POYER's military career included service in the Atlantic, Mediterranean, Arctic, Caribbean, Persian Gulf, and Pacific. He lives on Eastern Shore of Virginia with his wife and their daughter, with whom he explores the Bay and Atlantic coast in their sloop, Water Spirit.
DAVID POYER's sea career included service in the Atlantic, Mediterranean, Arctic, Caribbean, and Pacific. He's the author of over forty novels and works of nonfiction including the War with China series: Tipping Point, Onslaught, Hunter Killer, and Deep War. Poyer's work has been required reading in the Literature of the Sea course at the U.S. Naval Academy, along with that of Joseph Conrad and Herman Melville. He lives on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.
Read an Excerpt
SEPTEMBER 11, 2001
5:15 A.M., ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA
IT was still dark. Yet not so long before sunrise that Dan couldn’t make out the trees through the window by the breakfast table. The back of the house overlooked the creek that ran through the ravine above which the home had been built.
They lived across the river from Washington, in the suburbs that had grown up along the Metro. A brick colonial with flagstone walks and three bedrooms and a family room in the basement, though they didn’t really have a family, aside from his daughter. Nan was grown up now, in grad school. Maples and elms and yellow poplars shaded the lawn. Blair had furnished it, mostly from the antique shops she made him stop at whenever they drove east to visit her parents. Other pieces were from her family’s estate, things her mom and dad had let go when they’d redecorated.
A far nicer home than he’d grown up in, and it felt strange having so much room, so many things he didn’t need. But when he felt this, he reminded himself of those who’d sacrificed so much so he could have this excess, this luxury, this safety. He still kept a pistol in the house, but didn’t need it in arm’s reach anymore.
“They really want you there this early?” he asked his wife.
Blair sipped coffee and looked at her watch. She was in a severe suit and black pumps. A light coat hung over the back of her chair. “They want me at National at six sharp. But I won’t be flying commercial.”
Dan grinned. She always called it National, never Ronald Reagan. “Charter?”
“Their own jet. A limo’ll meet me at JFK.”
“Sweet. And—when’ll you be back?”
“Day after tomorrow. Maybe I’ll see a show, if I can get tickets.”
They drank coffee and gazed out the bay window at the backyard. The hollyhocks and peonies were long gone, the four-o’clocks wouldn’t open till afternoon, but the white blooms of nicotiana seemed to glow even in the half dark.
“What are you doing today?”
“Headed in to the Building. See a classmate. Then I’m supposed to look in on Barry Niles.”
She wrinkled her nose. “The one who shot you down for your promotion?”
Dan shoved eggs around on his plate. No one was guaranteed promotion, especially at the O-6 level. But he’d hoped. “He didn’t shoot me down.”
“Oh, he stacked the deck. With the other admirals on the board. He’s always spoken against you, right? Kept you from getting another command, after Horn?”
“The proceedings are sealed.”
“Dan, you’re the most decorated officer in the Navy. Navy Cross. Silver Star. And the Congressional, for God’s sake. You’ve pulled their chestnuts out of the fire time and again. And they pass you over for captain.” She raised a finger. “Wouldn’t have happened if I was still at OSD.”
“That would not have helped. The Navy keeps outsiders out of promotion. SecNav, just maybe. SecDef, no.” But he kept his tone nonargumentative.
Blair had taken the November election hard. It meant she was out in the cold; a new administration, a new party in charge. That was why she was going to New York.
“What precisely do these Cohn, Kennedy guys do, again?”
“I told you. Global financial services. Specialized equity and capital markets for institutional clients. Real estate private equity.” She eyed him humorlessly. “None of which means squat to you, right?”
“It sounds like … it should pay.”
“Oh, it will, Dan. I could cubbyhole at SAIC until the next election, but this’ll build our net worth. We may not see much of each other, unless you decide to come to New York with me. But we’ll come out of it with significantly enhanced personal value.”
“You’re sure they’re hiring?”
“Good people are always hard to get,” she said without a trace of modesty, false or otherwise. “How much longer do you have? Now you’ve been passed over?”
“June fifteenth is my punch-out date.”
“Have you thought about my suggestion?”
She’d told him to call his old teacher Dr. Edward Ferenczi, the new president’s national security adviser. Which would make it interesting, Dan working for one party while she was biding her time waiting to come back with the other. “I don’t know. I’m still thinking about it.”
“Don’t wait, if you want a responsible position.” Her tone was tentative, as if she didn’t want to jab a tender place. “Good God, is that the time?” She grabbed her coat, kissed his cheek, gave his chest a quick raking scratch through the open bathrobe. “See you Thursday.”
He was about to let her go with that, but something made him get up. A faint unease out of nowhere. “I’ll go to the door with you.”
The garage door groaned as it rolled up. He eyed the chains, thinking, grease. He caught her smile, a lifted hand as she backed down the drive, then craned around, checking her six before rolling out into the street. A pale rose glow fanned slowly out beyond the trees, like a peacock’s tail.
When she was gone he stripped the plastic wrapper off the Post, looking at the weather first. Clear skies; she should have a nice flight. The headlines. The new SecDef had declared war on bloat at the Pentagon. He was trimming the staff fifteen percent to start with and twenty percent more in a year. Page two, more criticism of the new missile defense program. He read this article to the end.
Judges and prosecutors were being murdered in Colombia. NATO was pulling out of Macedonia amid predictions of sectarian massacres. He shuddered, remembering a concrete shed filled with corpses, the buzz of fat flies nestling into mutilated eye sockets. When the Balkans went, they went all the way, tumbling straight through war into the abyss of savagery. More deaths in Iraq too.
He lifted his gaze, thoughts freezing behind gray eyes. Whatever he read, faces floated up. Images, smells, tastes of numb terror and desperate hope and, sometimes, incredible heroism.
He’d worn a uniform since he’d been seventeen. The Navy had been home, career, profession … everything. But it ate its young. Destroyed marriages. Relationships. The years had shot past one after the other at sea, or busy ashore. He’d done everything he’d set out to do. Even commanded a destroyer, though not for long enough.
You could stay in for a few years, after being passed over. But what was the point? Might as well do desk work somewhere they’d actually pay. Maybe not as well as they were going to pay Blair, but better than the Navy.
The trouble was, he’d never wanted to do anything else.
Copyright © 2011 by David Poyer
Table of Contents
II: An Altered World,
1. Los Angeles, California,
2. Alexandria Hospital, Alexandria, Virginia,
3. Sana'a, Republic of Yemen,
4. New York,
5. Sana'a, Yemen,
6. Tampa, Florida,
7. Coronado, California,
III: The Gates of the Citadel,
8. Prince Georges County, Maryland,
10. Base "X," Gulf of Oman,
11. Sana'a, Yemen,
12. Night Raid,
14. Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan,
IV: Black Dust,
15. Thirty-Six Miles South of Kandahar,
16. Bagram Joint Operations Center,
17. Leaders' Recon,
20. Tora Bora,
21. Joint Special Operations Center, Bagram,
22. Tora Bora,
23. In the White Mountains,
Also by David Poyer,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Good book, typical of Poyer. It was not necessary to characterize President Bush as "simian", however. To do so invites us all to characterize ALL our presidents as other than humanoid.
Poyer hits a homer with this action packed novel. His superb writing and deep military experience bring to life a snapshot of how the war on terror has become the new doctrine. His rich descriptions will keep readers on the edge of their seats.
I have read many of Poyers books over the years and unlike the more popular authors who write military action novels, Poyers books are always well written, acurate and most importantly have real characters, warts and all. This book in has several characters from previous novels that each share a part of the tradgety of 9-11 and its aftermath. Poyer ties them altogether into a fast paced tale of what it might have been like to lunch our attack on Afganistan and the hunt for Bin Laden. I found this book to be exciting and realistic. I looked forward to coming home each evening and reading more.
I am a big fan of all Poyer's novels especially the Lenson series, The Towers is another good read although it might be painful for anyone who lost a friend or loved one on 911. Poyer is very respectful with the subject matter and gives some good insight on what happened that day and the events in the military that came there after. I except his next novel will continue the story line of this book and I look forward to its publication.
As someone who has read all the Dan Lenson novels, I found this one to be the same excellent read as the others, but more "today" since it starts on 9/11. From where it ended, I only expect more great stories in the future.
Once again Mr. Poyer outdoes himself. A great work of fiction intertwined with real life. I couldn't put it down once I started. It gives in depth descriptions of what these people in the towers probably went through. It was also very descriptive of the search for Bin Laden. Mr. Poyer makes you feel like you are there in the middle of the hunt. His research of his subjects is phenominal. You can tell he spends endless time researching, as well as, using what he has learned in his service to this country in the US NAVY. I recommend this book and author that enjoys naval/armed services adventures. I can't wait for the next one in the series!!
This book is not Mr. Poyer's best. I wanted to read this book because it is the next in the Dan Lenson series. This series has been full of action, high adventure and naval politics. This book however reads like the author just had to get something out. The hero, Dan Lenson only has a bit part and it is over written. I would not recommend this book.
On September 11, 2001, unhappy Navy Commander Dan Lenson visits the Pentagon still upset after being passed over for promotion to the rank of captain in spite of his heroic successful efforts; while he considers retirement, the brass detests his stubborn independence. At the same time his wife Beth Blair is at the South Tower on a job interview. Both are impacted mentally and physically when the planes crash the Pentagon and Twin Towers. He escapes the flames but fears for his spouse as he loses phone contact almost immediately reaching her. While Beth struggles with her injuries, Dan and his SEAL team are assigned to Task Force Rhino whose mission is to capture or kill Bin Laden and his Taliban allies. His unit deploys to Afghanistan but deals with DC, Kabul and Islamabad politics at the isolated mountainous Tora Bora border. At the same time in Yemen, Muslim-American FBI special agent Aisha Ar-Rahim learns the hard way what being a Muslim-American means on September 12 2011. The latest Lenson military thriller (see The Crisis and The Weapon) is a great tale in spite of the reader knowing the outcome. The keys to The Towers are the harrowing descriptions of death, destruction and survival on 9/11, the racism that ignites starting on 9/12, and the insightful look at how well (or not) the civilian and military elements of the government work together in hostile scenarios thousands of miles away from DC where the leadership resides. This is an excellent glimpse at the immediate post 9/11 world in which crises (real does not matter) are needed to fuel the avenging vendetta. Harriet Klausner