There was no warning. Miguel Jurado was a heavy sleeper, especially when he’d eaten well and had downed about half a bottle of aguardiente. So, he didn’t hear the door open, despite the noise outside. He was dead to the world until he found himself shaken roughly. “Mayor Jurado! Mayor Jurado, you need to wake up, Señor!” He cracked one eye, his head already starting to pound. He couldn’t handle the aguardiente as well as he had when he was younger. It took a moment to register that it was Sebastian Casas, his chief of security, who was shaking him. That can’t be good. He sat up in bed with a groan, squinting against the light that spilled through the open door. He wasn’t really fat, not yet, but his body was going soft as he got older and balder, and for some reason, that meant that he always hurt when he got up, despite the alcohol. Maria, his third wife, twenty years his junior, didn’t have that problem. She was sitting up in bed, covering herself with the sheet, staring at Casas with large, dark, frightened eyes. “What is it?” Jurado peered blearily at the clock beside the massive
One of the fun aspects to writing the Brannigan’s Blackhearts series is the gun porn. It’s always been a staple of the Action/Adventure genre. I do try for a bit more authenticity than some of the older works in the genre (which will remain nameless), while at the same time avoiding the multi-page descriptions, so as not to bog down the story. Featuring a wide variety of weaponry is still cool, though, which is why I’ve been running this series of posts since the series started. Most of the time, the Blackhearts use a common service weapon in the Area of Operations where they’re working. War to the Knife is no different. Their local contact gets them IWI Galil SARs, which have been an issue service rifle in the National Army of Colombia. There are also a couple of the 5.56 version of the IWI Negev light machinegun. And Flanagan gets a chance to use a Galatz sniper rifle. The Green Shirts, the narco-communists who have taken over San Tabal, carry a mix of weapons based on many carried by the FARC. That means a mix of mostly M16s and AK-47s for rifles (mostly either captured from the Colombians or trafficked in by
The march to get the Maelstrom Rising series on audio continues. Cody knocked it out of the park with Strategic Assets. (Granted, my Polish isn’t great, so I hope his pronunciations are better than mine would be–I trust that they are, given what he did with the Mandarin on Kill Yuan.) All 10 hours + of Strategic Assets is now available on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. They retook Gdansk… …At a terrible cost for both sides. Where and when will the next blow fall? Winter is setting in, and Eastern Europe is hurting. Russians prowl on one side, while the European Defense Council’s forces sit on the German side of the border, strangely quiet. Matt and his team have recovered from the wounds they received in Gdansk, but as low-intensity warfare continues, the question remains: What is the EDC waiting for? The Triarii are sure that the same people who launched the war aren’t giving up. They’ve already killed thousands. Power is their only goal, and the EDC won’t simply leave the Americans and Poles in peace. They can’t. Too much blood has already been shed. So, Matt and his team get a new mission. Go deep into enemy territory and find out
So, since I’m currently hard at work getting War to the Knife finished, I’ve resumed the SOBs readthrough. I’m a bit behind–I got sidetracked last year. So, we’re picking back up at Soldiers of Barrabas #13 – No Sanctuary. (Yes, I realize that I haven’t reviewed the last three. I’ll have to go back and refresh on Vultures of the Horn, Agile Retrieval, and Jihad.) (For those unfamiliar, the Brannigan’s Blackhearts series was conceived in late 2017 as a sort of spiritual successor to the Soldiers of Barrabas. While Able Team, Phoenix Force, and their joint operations in Stony Man are perhaps better-known, the SOBs caught my imagination a bit more immediately. They’re grittier and a bit more grounded. The first one, The Barrabas Run, is basically a poor man’s Dogs of War.) The SOBs, like the Blackhearts, tend to take deniable missions from the US government, funneled to them by a walking mountain of a man named Walker Jessup. (Jessup has had to get involved a couple of times, always to his chagrin; he likes food a lot more than fighting.) But No Sanctuary is more of a personal story. Because Liam O’Toole’s past has come back to haunt him. O’Toole was an IRA fighter in his
Thunder Run has officially gone live on Kindle! Everything in Europe will change after this. Whether for the better or worse? That remains to be seen… Europe teeters on the brink… …As all sides consider their next move But can one more blow really end the war? The European Defense Council’s doomsday strike has been averted. More American forces have reached Poland. And the Russians are starting to turn up the pressure in the Baltic. Now, as the EDC’s irregular campaigns ramp up, a decision has to be made. Matt’s team will be back on the tip of the spear, regardless of the plan. But as forces start to move, and the leadership starts to outline their plan, the less he likes it. It sounds like wishful thinking to him. But he’s a Triarii team leader. He’ll always answer the call. Still, the questions remain. Does victory lie at the end? Or a situation made much, much worse? Get it here. And if you liked it, please consider leaving a rating or review.
A week and a half later, I walked into our TOC in Fort Grodzisko. The bunker hadn’t gotten much warmer since the winter, though it had gotten brighter, as more work lights were brought in. We still did some planning and intel collection on computers, but given how fast and how nasty the cyber war had gotten—not to mention how often power grids were being targeted, on both sides of the Atlantic—we used paper maps, whiteboards, and as much analog stuff as we could. And those needed light. Brian Hartrick was waiting in the “Grex Luporum Corner,” along with Shane Tucker and Bobby Burkhart, the other two Grex Luporum team leaders in country. There weren’t a lot of us, and we were in high demand in the States—and there were whispers about new ops in the Western Pacific, though those were extremely hush-hush at the moment—so Shane, Bobby, and I were it for the moment. We were also all understrength. We’d taken losses over the last few months since all this started. None of our ten-man teams were sitting at more than eight bodies. “You made it.” Hartrick’s sardonic tone always sounded like he wasn’t sure if what he was
The Territorial Defense troops were piling out of the Star 266 trucks where they’d pulled over on the side of the road, and the first couple of squads had already started to spread out into the woods as Chris and I rejoined Scott and the rest of the team. Scott and Arkadiusz had already deconflicted and linked up with the Poles. The two of them were standing near the lead truck, talking to Jaskolski while Reuben guided the Light Infantry point elements into the woods. It would not be a good thing if they stumbled on us in the dark and the wrong people got shot. I glanced over the men and women spreading out into the trees. They were better equipped than the raid force had been, but that wasn’t saying a lot. Load bearing vests worn over bulky, early 2000s era body armor turned even the fittest soldier into a lumbering pear shape, and not all these boys and girls were lean and mean studs to begin with. They at least had night vision, monoculars mounted on old MICH helmets. The Territorial Defense Brigades had gotten a lot of the Wojska Lądowe’s old FB Beryl 5.56 AKs, as
Chris was on point, about five yards ahead of me, when he suddenly froze and put up a clenched fist. I followed suit instantly. When you’re in hostile territory, you pay attention to what your point man does. While every man in a small team has to be alert at all times, the point man is the team’s eyes and ears. And while we were still on the Polish side of the line, I definitely considered where we were “hostile territory.” Staying in place, I scanned the woods around us carefully. We’d switched night vision in the last month, having gotten a new supply shipment in when the convoys carrying the Army in had arrived. I wasn’t entirely sure about losing the thermal capability, but the clarity and the depth perception the PS-31s provided were a lot better. Unfortunately, even with the better NVGs, I couldn’t see what had prompted Chris to halt. The woods were dark, despite the faint lights from Mamonovo about two and a half miles to the north. We’d picked a new moon on purpose. The PS-31s turned the darkness into pale grays, but they couldn’t show me what I didn’t have a line of sight
Calls for Terrorism Hearings Concerning Texas Representative Amelia Anderson-Pugnoli has openly called for hearings in Congress regarding the recent clashes in West Texas which saw the Texas National Guard seize control of the West Texas oilfields. She and the nearly one hundred twenty Representatives who back her have said that the actions of Texas Governor Hollis, the Texas National Guard, and the right-wing organization that calls itself “The Triarii” amounted to insurrection and international terrorism. “This kind of violence amounts to nothing less than a betrayal of everything America stands for! Texas is not a sovereign country, and even if it were, the attacks on international companies and Mexican nationals are crimes against humanity, and must be punished.” Governor Hollis has issued no statement at this time. Violence Continues on West Coast Seattle is in flames again tonight, this time in reaction to the alleged killing of a local community activist near Capitol Hill. While the Capitol Hill area has been an epicenter for unrest since 2020, the latest spate of violence appears to be between several local activist groups. As this article goes live, it is still unclear what prompted the latest dispute, but it may have been
I’m still hammering away at Thunder Run, but another SPOTREPS author, James Rosone, has a new book out today: Monroe Doctrine Volume 1. If you’ve been a fan of the Maelstrom Rising Series, you might give it a look, as it follows some similar threads, just down south. Cuba discovers a vast reserve of rare earth minerals… Spies converge on the Caribbean… …In the midst of the chaos, opportunity rises. In the wake of the new Global Depression, the governments of the Caribbean and South America are in free fall—that is, until a benefactor makes them an offer they can’t refuse. Since the 1800s, the US has held to the Monroe Doctrine, which maintains that no foreign nations will be allowed to interfere within the United States’ sphere of influence. However, with America divided and civil unrest spreading across the country, the Chinese see this as their chance. Will China’s AI-Supercomputers outsmart the West? Will they succeed in supplanting the United States? Is the West capable of pulling together one more time or will they go down in history as a group of failed states? China moves in to “save the world.” It’s currently available on Kindle.