“Victory is no longer a truth.
It is only a word to describe who is left alive in the ruins.”
― Lyndon B. Johnson
Aleppo, once an idyllic jewel between Mesopotamia and the Mediterranean, was the oldest inhabited city in Syria and one of the oldest in civilization. Robert Garcia had been in many battle zones before, but this was nothing like he had ever seen. Aleppo had been decimated. Jagged slabs of concrete hanging on the exposed bones of twisted, rusting steel, the ashes of wooden shops now reduced to cinders, broken corrugated shutters of what used to be jewelry stores, and the ruins of bombed-out, formerly splendid historical mosques, their once glittering chandeliers now hanging from the dusty rubble.
It reminded him of those surreal black and white photographs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the atom bomb had been dropped. Once a thriving metropolis, now a graveyard inhabited only by terrorists and their mostly unwilling civilian subjects – slaves, held captive by the boundaries of their destinies.
Robert set up his shot from the seventh floor of an abandoned, blown-out building, once part of the modern city, which could hardly be distinguished from its ancient ruins, now themselves almost completely obliterated by all the bombing. A bead of sweat from the intense heat dripped into his eye and he wiped his brow dry. He gripped his Dragunov SVD sniper rifle and simulated the shot he was about to take, beginning his breathing protocol as he observed the place where he would send General Abu Muslim al-Basara, once the pride of Sadaam Hussein’s Royal Guard, now an ISIS terrorist, to Jahannam.
He watched as al-Basara’s colonel spread the battle plan out on the desk. This was to be their moment of glory, the day they would drive out the last of the infidels and strangle the life out of what was once the largest city near the Turkish border. The day which would pave the way for their growth to metastasize into and infect the land that had been conquered by the Romans and retaken by the Muslims – only to be forsaken again and was now sitting in the clutches of the Jewish empire of the United States.
Robert concentrated on the target zone through his sight and ran his tongue across his dry lips. In front of the building, men in flak jackets holding automatic weapons were milling around, but that wasn’t going to make any difference. From 500 meters it would be a turkey shoot and he would disappear before they knew where the shots had come from. In the dead wind, the bullet would cut through the air like a hot knife through a stick of butter, finding its purchase accurately with no need for compensation in trajectory. He looked through the small window and watched the colonel studying the plans. Robert’s optics were so precise, he could count the hairs on the Colonel’s beard. He was target number two.
Breathe and wait, breathe and wait. When the prime target finally came into focus, Robert unclenched every muscle, relaxing everything except for his eye and his trigger finger. He placed the cross hairs right on the forehead of the target and squeezed, every so softly, as if he were tickling the most intimate part of a woman. He immediately fired another round to the chest as he watched the first bullet make contact, popping the general’s head back, his lifeless body dropping to the ground, and then took out the surprised colonel with a shot to the head and one to the chest. Robert abandoned his equipment, vacated what was left of the room and scurried down the seven flights of destroyed stairs, sometimes leaping over patches of nothingness as he descended. He could hear the commotion and turmoil from across the street – orders being screamed out, the roar of trucks coming closer. He slipped out the exit, and briskly walked the half block to the designated pickup area, but the pickup vehicle wasn’t there. Shit!
Paladine Political Thriller Series
By Kenneth Eade
Robert Garcia had left the United States after doing what he'd been taught to do in our armed forces...Kill Terrorists, wherever they were. He had gained hero status and the name Paladine had spread across the world. Of course, he was wanted for murder...officially...
|See my Review of series debut|
Now, in other parts of the world, he was doing the same thing... except now he was sanctioned...by the CIA... He had always worked alone and had always made it out easily. Now he was bogged down with orders, rules, and, supposedly, help. Well, it was clear that this was not working! He had just assassinated two targets, and immediately went to the place for extraction, only to find nowhere there!
He was captured, beaten for answers and finally led away to be murdered, first, setting up the tripod to record it!
It was Russian soldiers, who were
based there to fight the terrorists, that saved Garcia... As they talked, the one who spoke English, Lyosha, I believe, saw a man, much like him, who needed help... Before long, Garcia was on his way to Russia...for a Holiday!
With much drinking, an invitation to dinner at Lyosha's home and a much needed break for both of them, Garcia realized that, for the first time since he'd been in the service years ago, he had found an acquaintance who was quickly becoming a friend... It was Lyosha, though, that reminded him that, at this time, they were fighting on the same side. At another time, one or the other might be trying to kill this new friend...
Readers get to see a much more personal side to Garcia in this novel. He even met a young Russian woman who interested him and they began to see each other when possible...at least until his location was confirmed and he was soon sent on his next mission... Supposedly, Robert had only a certain number of missions before the CIA would allow him to leave their services, but the last one...did not sound right to Garcia. He didn't want to do it... and he argued with his handler...
I think I was most intrigued by the relationships that had developed between the Russian and American. They were both quite willing to resolve issues that help fight against terrorists. But when they questioned their orders, all they had to help them know what to do was to follow the code that had been drilled into them years ago...
But would that always be the choice that was made???
Garcia is guided by an inner moral code. He was taught to kill for America and then expected to go home and go on with his life... All Garcia saw here was that terrorists continued to kill, there at home. He needed to respond...
But in this novel, he does have doubts--not all commands to kill were for justifiable reasons... For me, this strengthened Paladine's hero status... and I hope Eade continues this series for many more books... This book found our character in exciting situations, as well as reflective and fun activities. I found I liked this character and feel quite comfortable with his name... Paladine! I'm so glad he's on the side of...right...
You know, I've always enjoyed Eade's legal thrillers, but this series...well, it's...just...fantastic! Kudos, Kenneth Eade!
Described by critics as "one of our strongest thriller writers on the scene," author Kenneth Eade, best known for his legal and political thrillers, practiced law for 30 years before publishing his first novel, "An Involuntary Spy." Eade, an award-winning, best-selling Top 100 thriller author, has been described by his peers as "one of the up-and-coming legal thriller writers of this generation." He is the 2015 winner of Best Legal Thriller from Beverly Hills Book Awards and the 2016 winner of a bronze medal in the category of Fiction, Mystery and Murder from the Reader's Favorite International Book Awards. His latest novel, "Paladine" is currently a quarter-finalist in Publisher's Weekly's BookLife Prize for Fiction. Eade has authored three fiction series: The "Brent Marks Legal Thriller Series", the "Involuntary Spy Espionage Series" and the "Paladine Anti-Terrorism Series." He has written fifteen novels which have been translated into French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese.
"I've been writing all my life, but began publishing my work out of a passion for the environment. My wife, Valentina, is a professional photographer, who worked for two years on an environmental exhibition called, "Bee Cause I Care" which was exhibited by the Prince Albert II Foundation and is now touring cities in France to bring awareness to the importance of pollinators and the dangers facing them. I penned a few articles on the subject for the Los Angeles Daily Journal and turned my research into my first book, "Bless the Bees." That passion continued with the publication of my novel, "An Involuntary Spy," which is an action thriller that also points to the dangers of genetically engineered food. Then I began publishing the "Brent Marks Legal Thriller Series," which, in part, is based on actual experiences during my long career in law.
"Now I divide most of my time between France, where I have resided for the better part of 10 years, and Russia. I try to put as much realism in my novels as possible, and they all revolve around important social issues. I treasure all of my readers and love to hear from them, whether it's good or bad. Sometimes I make changes based on their suggestions and one reader has inspired a character that has appeared in my latest two novels. Everyone who signs up on my mailing list at www.kennetheade.com gets a free ebook and I give away a Kindle Fire every month to a lucky winner on the list. I love this new adventure and hope you enjoy taking it with me."