I’ve had people asking about getting my books on audio for several years now. I’ve given it a shot a couple of times, but things haven’t worked out to continue with the ACX Royalty Share arrangement. However, a couple of months ago, I was contacted by Tantor Media, asking if the audio rights to the Maelstrom Rising series were available. Tantor’s not a small company; they’ve got thousands of audiobooks in their catalog. So, I signed on. Escalation is out today. Holding Action is in production, and will be out on the 10th of December. Steve Marvel is narrating, and while I haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet, I’ve communicated with him some, and his attention to detail is admirable, and his rendition of the news stories in the Prologue (in the Sample) is spot on. Meanwhile, I’m hammering away at Crimson Star. It’s being a bit of a bear, but I’m getting a handle on it. Taking the scene back to CONUS presents a whole new set of complications. Preorder and release date are still yet to be determined; I’ve got to get closer to finishing first. Kill or Capture‘s been out for a bit now.
A lot of people see the Cold War as distant history. There was even one political scientist/economist who wrote a book in 1992 claiming that the end of the Cold War was “The End of History.” Obviously, that thesis didn’t age well. But even leaving aside the nonsense that with the collapse of the Soviet Union, a new age of democracy and peace had dawned, a lot of us still see a rupture between the Cold War and the present strategic situation. There is no such rupture, though. History doesn’t work in “eras” except in high school textbooks. Yes, this is in reference to my last post. An expansion, if you will. If you want to understand why we seem to be trapped in “endless war,” then you need to understand what happened since World War II, and how that has contributed to where we are now. The Cold War has been described as the multi-decade tensions between NATO and the Warsaw Pact, marked by espionage, massive conventional forces staring at each other across the Iron Curtain, and the Mutually Assured Destruction of thousands of nuclear weapons pointed in both directions. And those were part of it. But the Cold
A recent headline about the failure to withdraw from Afghanistan got me thinking about the “endless war” talk that’s been going on for at least the last decade. It ties in with the “war weariness” narrative that started less than two years into the Iraq War, a war weariness felt by a population that sacrificed little or nothing. They were just tired of seeing it on the news. But there’s something there. The point just is not necessarily what the pundits think it is. “The Long War” as some have called it didn’t start on September 11th, 2001. We’d been clashing with jihadi elements for a long time before that. The Iranian Hostage Crisis began with a Shi’a jihadist revolution, that immediately targeted Americans. It has been pointed out that the US directly supported the Shah, whose Savak secret police could rival the KGB for brutality at times, thus making the US the revolutionaries’ enemy, justifiably. (It should be pointed out that most countries in the region have equally repressive police forces, including the “good” ones who are still our allies.) But the Islamic Revolution, like just about every other revolution in history, promptly proved itself every bit as bad, if
Some big news this week. As you can see from the photo above, the paperbacks for Kill or Capture and the redesigned cover for Fury in the Gulf came on Friday, so signed copies are now available in the store. In bigger news, back in August I signed a contract with Tantor Media for audiobook versions of the Maelstrom Rising series. Production is now in full swing, and they’re being narrated by Steve Marvel, who has also done audiobooks for my friend JT Patten, author of the Safe Havens and Task Force Orange series. I’ve been talking with Steve in some detail, and I think they’re going to come out well. Escalation is due out on audio on November 12th, and Holding Action on December 10th. So, mark your calendars, especially those who prefer audiobooks. Now, I don’t have a contract for Crimson Star yet. The official word I’ve gotten from Tantor is that they’ll have to see just how well the first two books do before they commit to further volumes. So, if you’ll all spread the word when they come out, I’d appreciate it, since that will go a long way toward ensuring that the rest of the series gets audio versions, too. (This has been a
Some Choose Hell is the 9th Soldiers of Barrabas story, and takes the SOBs to South Africa. South Africa in 1985, when apartheid is alive and well. This time, they are hired to protect Bishop Toto, the new black Bishop of Johannesburg. What they don’t know is that they’re intended to be patsies. The South Africans are intent on assassinating the bishop, even as they’ve invited the SOBs in to protect him. It gets more complicated than that; by the time Barrabas, Nanos, Hatton, and Bishop arrive in South Africa, the real Bishop Toto has already been imprisoned by BOSS (the Bureau of State Security), and an impostor put in his place. The impostor immediately begins making all sorts of concessions to the white government, sowing discontent, which will peak with his assassination, after which the real Bishop Toto is to be quietly eliminated. Needless to say, the SOBs interfere, finding themselves at odds with their “employers.” There’s a significant side plot in this one, namely that of Claude Hayes. It had been revealed in earlier books that Hayes spent some time in Africa after Vietnam, though in more of a revolutionary role than the more common anti-Communist mercenary role
Brannigan’s Blackhearts are out for blood. John Brannigan doesn’t take too many things personally. But he’s lost three men to the Humanity Front. So, when Erika Dalca offers him a target package on one of their facilitators, he’s going to go for it, even if it takes him to the ends of the Earth. On The Hunt Flanagan and Gomez hardly needed to communicate except by a glance. They both scrambled up to their feet and rushed forward, each moving to the nearest bend in the creekbed before dropping down behind the best cover they could find. In Flanagan’s case, that was the bend itself. Gomez had to wedge himself back into a slight, crumbling overhang on the far side. He’d lost track of exactly where Jenkins was, aside from behind them, but he was more focused on the threat in front of them, as the Front shooters opened fire, realizing that their flanking maneuver was compromised. More bullets gouged sand out of the creekbed, but the two Blackhearts were already down and aiming in. Flanagan quickly tracked in on a man down on a knee, several yards behind the one Gomez had shot. He blasted him, pumping a round
Yes, it is time for a guns post again. What kind of hardware shows up in the seventh outing for Brannigan’s Blackhearts? The Blackhearts get to pick their loadout before insert this time, as opposed to some of their previous adventures. But with the AO being in South America, they’ve still got to find weaponry that will, if not blend in in South America, at least be compatible for ammo resupply. Wade selects the IWI ACE 52 for their rifles. The ACE is an updated version of the Galil, and the ACE 52 is chambered in 7.62×51. It’s been adopted by several South American special operations forces, including in Argentina.
Eighteen years. Eighteen years, and no closer to the end. Some have tried to find the end. Negotiations with the Taliban have been going on for a long time. But it takes two sides to make peace. It only takes one to make war. And the jihad isn’t over. If you pay attention, it won’t ever be over. Dates matter. Dates have significance. We in the West like to forget our history, justifying it with platitudes about “moving on” or “getting over the past.” No one else does, except for Communists like Mao Zedong or Pol Pot, who will slaughter millions to try to wipe out the past and make themselves the sole arbiters of reality. September 11 had significance before 2001. It’s why the enemy chose it. It had been a date of Islamic defeat for a long, long time. The Great Siege of Malta ended on September 11, 1565. The Ottomans were driven away from Malta, defeated. The Battle of Vienna began on September 11, 1683, and ended the next day with the charge of the Winged Hussars on September 12, ending the high tide of Ottoman conquest. We don’t want to think about it. It’s become something
John Brannigan was not a happy man. The fact that he was wearing a tux, sitting at a very expensive table in a very expensive, very exclusive restaurant, high atop a luxury hotel in the middle of San Francisco, would have been bad enough. Ever since his forced retirement from the Marine Corps and the death of his wife, Rebecca, of cancer a short time later, he’d essentially retired to the mountains, living not too differently from an old-time mountain man. Fancy restaurants, fancy clothes, and big cities put his teeth on edge. He’d gotten a haircut and shaved his cheeks and chin, but his massive, bristling handlebar remained, setting him apart even more than his broad shoulders and six-foot-four-inch stature from the soft men around him. But all of that was only a minor annoyance compared to the woman sitting across the table from him.
Special Agent Vito Castiglione looked up from the spotting scope as the door opened behind him. Special Agent Cara Hernandez walked into the room and stood next to him, peering out through the black mesh laid over the gap in the curtains. “Aren’t you supposed to be keeping eyes on the objective?” she asked. “Nobody’s budged out of that place in the last thirty-six hours,” Castiglione said dismissively. “We’ve got the whole place tied up tight. Besides, have you seen the pictures of this guy? I don’t think we really have much to worry about.” The fact that he was admiring the view presented by the willowy, olive-skinned Special Agent next to him was beside the point. She was much more interesting to look at than the dull, expensive house across the street. She rolled her eyes at him, exasperated. He just leered back. “Yes, I have seen the photos,” she said. “Still, you should at least pretend to be taking this warrant seriously.” “What’s to take seriously right now?” Castiglione replied. “He’s a pasty-white billionaire wanted for bribery, money laundering, and influence peddling. He’s hardly Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah. The whole point of putting an Enhanced SWAT team on him