We were only about half a block away from Saint Augustine’s Church when the explosion shattered the morning calm. I saw the ugly black cloud of dust, smoke, and debris billow out from around the corner a fraction of a second before the ground shook with the tooth-rattling boom. Scott and I dove between a van and a box truck, getting into the questionable cover of a crooked brick wall that bordered the narrow lawn on the side of the street. I glanced up at the clear, cold, blue sky, scanning between the barren branches above for fast movers. My hand had instinctively moved for the pistol under my jacket, even though there wasn’t a blessed thing I could do with it if the EDC was bombing Wroclaw. The sky was clear, though, and no more explosions followed that first big one. Instead, gunfire rattled down the street near the church, and yells and screams split the morning air as the smoke rose higher in the sky. Scott and I looked at each other for a second before we both drew our weapons. I pulled the radio out of my back pocket. “Chatty, Deacon,” I called. “Contact at St. Augustine’s.
He went in fast, going over the corpse in the doorway and stepping right. There wasn’t a good place to move in the entryway; it formed a short hallway that opened up on the kitchen in the open central room, with a double door immediately to the left, that was currently closed. The closed door wasn’t the immediate threat, though. The two men and a woman in the kitchen, the woman coming out of the bedroom beyond with what looked like a semi-auto shotgun, were. He stroked the trigger as he moved, driving forward and slowing just enough that he wouldn’t quite clear the short wall to his right before he dealt with the three threats in front of him. His first shot took the tall, bald, heavily muscled man, covered in tattoos, high in the chest. Red blossomed on the man’s white wife-beater and sprayed from his back, spattering the woman with the bobbed hair and red shirt in the face. She blinked as the man crashed onto his back in front of her, then Huntsman put a bullet through her skull, the thunderclap of the report physically painful in the enclosed space. Hank could already feel his ears
The desert felt downright cold in the hour before dawn. Hank Foss drew back the cutoff sock cuff on his wrist just far enough that he could make out the faintly luminous hands on his watch dial. Five more minutes. He slipped the cuff back in place and looked over at Cole Spencer, who lay in the shallow wash next to him. Spencer’s pitch-black face was obscured by a mottled pattern of sand and loam camouflage paint, just as Hank’s considerably lighter complexion was. He met Hank’s eyes and nodded. Hank nodded back, then started double-checking himself. He’d handed his rifle, a thoroughly customized 7.62 battle rifle that had started its life as a DPMS Oracle, off to Spencer, along with his assault pack. All he had left on was his chest rig, his belt kit, and his pistol, a suppressed SIG Tactical 1911. The holster was a miserably large chunk of nylon strapped to his thigh, but he found it preferable to any of the other carry options, and he couldn’t just carry the damned pistol as his primary. At least, once he was done with this first phase of the operation. Every strap had been taped, every buckle
New Wave of Murders Hits Baltimore While estimates are still coming in, at least seventy-two people have been killed in a fresh wave of violence in Baltimore this weekend. Victims include several police officers, and at least one family of four, identified as Jim and Patty Gorson and their two daughters. Gunfire tore through the night, and social media posts have claimed most of the killings in the name of the Black Kingdom Revolutionaries. The group’s anonymous spokespersons have said that the killings are in retribution for the Fourth Reich’s assassination of activist Kamal Lamont Granger last week. Standoff in Detroit The siege of Harm’s Elementary School enters its second week today. The leader of The Martyrs of Al Gharb, Abdulqaadir Ismaili Abdi, has issued another statement, claiming that, “The sons and daughters of the filthy kufar will be returned to their unbelieving mothers and fathers one limb, one piece at a time, unless Siad Muhammad Abdi, Ahmed Abu Qadir, and Ali Omar Hersi are freed. If the Martyrs of Al Gharb do not receive, in addition, five hundred million dollars, we will cut out their tongues before we set them free. Allahu Akhbar!” Local police still
This video came across my radar a week or so ago. It’s a long listen, but well worth it. Dr. Peter Zeihan goes into some of the economics and demographics of the collapse of the post-war world order. Some of these trends have gone into the background to the Maelstrom Rising series already. Zeihan’s talk has further fleshed some of them out. Now, I don’t necessarily agree with his entire forecast. I think he’s overlooking a number of, shall we say, violent variables. His outlook is almost entirely economic and demographic, leaving aside some of the potential impacts of violent ideology, desperation politics, terrorism, and “hybrid” Fourth Generation Warfare. Many of these variables have the potential to derail the economics he’s talking about. The demographics can also lead into some of these problems. As was mentioned in a discussion of this video, the solution to demographic problems has occasionally been “foreign adventures.” All of that said, the Maelstrom Rising series is predicated on the trends that Zeihan outlines. The difference is, the crisis brought about by these trends leads to desperation. And desperate governments can do things that, in the long run, are extremely destructive and stupid. Maelstrom Rising is about the
Tantor Media has just released the audio version of Holding Action, Book 2 in the Maelstrom Rising series. Steve Marvel read it, and as I’ve said before, I’ve been quite impressed with his attention to detail. Buying time with blood…. Matt Bowen and his team made it out of Slovakia by the skin of their teeth. But the fight’s not over. And there’s no rest for the weary. The European Defense Council, desperate to salvage their dream of a Europe reshaped in their image, threaten invasion of Poland. The Triarii and what is left of American forces in Northern Europe stand by their Polish allies. But they’re outnumbered and outgunned. And they might well be watching the wrong part of the border. Get it today! As for Crimson Star…I’m still working on it. Just passed the 91k word mark. This has turned into a bit more of a “discovery writing” experience as I’ve gone along. I should have a cover soon, and be able to get the preorder up for release sometime in late January. (Hopefully Tantor will be willing to pick that one up, too.) Also, my apologies for not keeping up on the blog. It’s been busy; I’ll try
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.
So far, the Maelstrom Rising series has mostly focused on the fact that conventional combat in future war is anything but dead. But there’s an irregular side to it, too, and the future is going to feature as much of the irregular, asymmetric side as the conventional, combined-arms side. There’s an article over on Borderland Beat about just that side of warfare, a side that is becoming increasingly prevalent in the modern world. Future conflicts will mostly be waged by drug cartels, mafia groups, gangs, and terrorists. It is time to rethink our rules of engagement. Wars are on the rebound. There are twice as many civil conflicts today, for example, as there were in 2001. And the number of nonstate armed groups participating in the bloodshed is multiplying. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), roughly half of today’s wars involve between three and nine opposing groups. Just over 20 percent involve more than 10 competing blocs. In a handful, including ongoing conflicts in Libya and Syria, hundreds of armed groups vie for control.
So, James Rosone, the author of the World War III, Red Storm, and now the Second American Civil War series (why yes, we write about very similar stuff), has put together a group promo on Bookfunnel for the 4th of July. James and I write similar stuff, and he offered to bring a bunch of other thriller authors on board. Since I just ran a KDP Countdown on Escalation, and I’m currently working on outlining Brannigan’s Blackhearts #7, I threw Kill Yuan in there. So, if you haven’t picked that one up (it seems like quite a few people haven’t, since it was originally a complete stand-alone), you can get the ebook this week for only $0.99! And you can add the Audible version (yes, this is one of two of my books on audio; if more people buy it, I might be able to get some more done) for free when you buy the ebook. A twofer! A Warrior Without A War Slowly Dies But a warrior looking for a war should be careful what he wishes for. Dan Tackett feels like he’s on a downward spiral, and has been ever since his wife died. But he should have known that
Holding Action is live! Matt Bowen and his team made it out of Slovakia by the skin of their teeth. But the fight’s not over. And there’s no rest for the weary. The European Defense Council, desperate to salvage their dream of a Europe reshaped in their image, threaten invasion of Poland. The Triarii and what is left of American forces in Northern Europe stand by their Polish allies. But they’re outnumbered and outgunned. And they might well be watching the wrong part of the border. The brutal series about the next World War continues in a storm of fire and steel!