I first read Cauldron in high school, and at the time, I remember that it didn’t make as much of an impact on me as Red Storm Rising, Red Phoenix, or even Vortex did. A new war in Central Europe seemed somewhat more far-fetched at the time than chaos in Africa or East Asia. (I was in high school; I didn’t know nearly as much as I might have thought that I did.) But in prep for Maelstrom Rising, I picked Cauldron back up. And I’ve got to say, Larry Bond was a lot more prescient than he seemed, back in ’93. While the general scenario in Cauldron is the French and Germans enforcing their economic hegemony over Eastern and Central Europe by force of arms, effectively forming the European Union at gunpoint (referred to as the European Confederation, or EurCon in the novel), the fault lines that lead to the scenario are even now playing out, only slightly differently.
Coming Q1 2019 (No, this is not the possible sequel to the American Praetorians series that I mentioned a year or so ago. That one probably isn’t happening; the AP series is words complete, and will likely stay that way. This is something new.)
We have a cover, and a release date. Brannigan’s Bastards #1 – Fury in the Gulf, will be out November 15. Iranian Fanatics, American Hostages…And The Clock Is Ticking! The tiny island kingdom of Khadarkh, strategically placed in the Persian Gulf, has swung back and forth between the Saudi and Iranian orbits for years. But when a mysterious force seizes control of the island, executes the tiny Khadarkhi Army, and takes any Americans they can find hostage, it appears that Khadarkh will be an Iranian puppet for the foreseeable future. The politicians are afraid of risking the hostages. And as the Western powers dither, some people start to look for another solution. They find that solution in John Brannigan. Brannigan already has a rep for pulling off the impossible, through a combination of audacity, ruthlessness, and ferocious loyalty to his men. His military service is over, but now he will pick up a rifle again, putting together a squad of mercenaries to land on Khadarkh and rescue the hostages, in a hail of bullets and swift, sharp violence. Brannigan’s Bastards are about to strike. Kevin Granzow, the guy who did the new Kill Yuan cover, is doing the Brannigan’s
“Sir? We just got a message from Team One. ‘Macallan.’” Corporal Jamie Lewis stopped and listened. It had to be rough, trying to hear the radio over the noise of the Osprey’s idling props. “Wait,” he said. “There’s Team Three. ‘Buffalo Trace.’” Brannigan resisted the urge to grin. Leave it to Marines to make all of their brevity codes the names of either alcohol, sports teams, or porn stars. “Any word from Team Two?” “No, sir,” Lewis replied, the handset pressed against his ear. “Still nothing.” Brannigan nodded, and thought for a moment. Staff Sergeant Holmes would do the job if he could. But the enemy was also undoubtedly alerted now, with two of the Shilkas having gone up in smoke. “Screw it,” he decided. He reached forward, tapped the pilot on the shoulder, and gave him a thumbs-up. Then he keyed his own radio, which was on the Battalion Tac channel. “All Kodiak units, this is Kodiak Six,” he called. “Crazy Horse. I say again, Crazy Horse.” The odds of anyone listening in on a SINCGARS channel, out in the middle of the Red Sea, were minimal, but Brannigan hadn’t gotten to where he was by being sloppy. He’d