Friday, November 22, 2013

The Ragnarok Conspiracy by Erec Stebbins Outstanding Alternative Reality! Went into My Favorites from 2013!

Choose your enemy with wisdom, for him do you become. —ancient proverb

The Ragnarok                                                                         Conspiracy!

By Erec Stebbins...

A Fanatic Terrorist like bin Laden can come from any country, from any religion. Hate and Bigotry are rampant and, sometimes, it takes just one incident--by another fanatic group--to bring hidden beliefs and hate into the...present...

That action took place on 9-11, but the idea, the planning, and the personnel were easily pulled together. Money was no problem, nor was knowledge of what could be done. Even early actions taken went unobserved--just "another" murder on the streets of America...

Fortunately, there was a small group watching...

John Savas had been there the day that Ambassador Hamid was assassinated. John was working undercover trying to make a connection for the future with the Ambassador...

With Hamid gone, months of work just disappeared...

Imam Wahid was next... Then one of John's staff called him over to his computer...

Savas paused and scrolled the text up on the monitor. “Reports claim that Mr. Hossain was struck by a bullet as he exited his hotel in Cairo and that he died instantly, suffering a direct hit to the chest. The gunman was never found; police speculated that the killer had fired a high-powered rifle from a distance and escaped in the ensuing panic.” "Savas was quiet for a moment. Hernandez used the silence to bring up a list of names, dates, and locations. He rolled his chair backward and let Savas lean in closer, reading through the file. “All killed by snipers,” mumbled Savas as he read silently through the list. “All taking direct hits that killed them instantly. Each a player in the underground terrorist network. 
"There must be twenty names here, Manuel. You think that they’re all linked?” 
“I don’t know, John. Some don’t exactly fit—head-shots, for example, even though in some of those cases the bullets were identified to be military grade. Not the special ordnance you discovered, but we don’t know how careful the ballistics team were, whether they did their homework like your contacts. Half these kills were in parts of the world where they likely don’t even do a full workup, let alone release the data.” 
"Savas put on his best Larry Kanter voice. “This is really thin, Manuel.” Hernandez nodded dejectedly. 
“Yeah, John, I know. But it’s all I have.”

And with that little bit of computer searching and manipulation, this small group of analysts in the FBI began to put together the first thoughts that there was a coordinated assassination effort underway!
Great Mosque of Algiers
Djama’a al-Kebir
Djamaa al-Kebir
Jami Masjid
Baitul Futuh Mosque
And then mosques all over the world were blown--totally destroyed with thousands killed!

John had attempted to present their findings to his boss and others at a meeting, but at that point, nobody was willing to even consider that this was a coordinated attack.

Until his boss was called to Washington! The one thing he was permitted to share with his staff when he returned was a disk with a language that was being used, for which nobody had been willing to decipher or even identify... It was felt that planning for everything was in this strange language... Once again John's staff were successful!
“Well, he says he knows what the symbols, the runes mean. Get ready for this, OK? He says they’re Norse.” 
“Norse? As in Valhalla and pretentious Wagnerian opera?” 
“Precisely. Better still, I sent him everything that we had, including images of the pendant you are so interested in. That’s when we hit the jackpot, John.” 
"She smiled and tilted her head at a slight angle, triumphant. “Go on.” “It’s also from Norse mythology, an artifact central to much of those beliefs: the hammer of the Norse god of thunder, Thor. The symbol and the runes match, John. You’ve been right all along—there is a connection! Not only between the killings but also to the Afghan strikes.” 
John Savas blinked. “Thor’s hammer?”...

“I’ve made partial transcripts,” Styer said, passing them a sheet of paper, “but I don’t know how much use it will be to you. The audio is Old Norse, a valiant attempt to speak it, I must say. One could quibble with the pronunciations and some of the grammar, but it is quite impressive. College level, you might say, which, it would seem to me, is strange coming from the sources you mention. There was much I could not make out, vocabulary that is modern in origin, I believe, adapted to Norse. There seems little doubt, however, that these are military instructions of some kind.” 
"The knowing look passed between the two FBI agents was not lost on the professor. “I see that I am not too far off the mark.” 
"Savas shifted the conversation. “So, what does this mean, Professor? We have some sort of cult of assassins like the Hashshashin?” 
“The Arabic drug-fueled killers from the Middle Ages?” Savas nodded in response. 
“No, Agent Savas, I wouldn’t suspect that. These are, if anything you told me is true, anti-Muslim assassins.” 
Savas continued to press the point. “But perhaps still some modern cult based on Norse religion? Fueled by a fanatical devotion?” 
...“Ragnarök, my friends, is the end of the world, as I told you. But it has a special Norse quality that makes it contrast sharply with your typical end-of-the world religious event...
Of course, the United States--the West was being accused of all of these actions, presumably because of  9-11, but all agencies within the United States and across the world were frantically trying to find out who was doing these acts that were killing people of all religions and all nations! Since John's group was making the most progress, a CIA liaison was added to his unit... At the same time, those in control of oil quickly warned of repercussions if those guilty weren't stopped!

John had lost his son on 9/11 and it had heightened his hatred of Muslims at the same time he had also lost any religious faith he had once professed. At the same time,  the CIA agent, an American who had met his Imam in prison and now was faithful to that religion, was able to accept their major differences. I so appreciated the way these two slowly came to be not only able to work together but to be friends enough that they stood together to make the trip necessary to stop what was scheduled to happen!

Stebbins, in my opinion, has honed in to a major issue facing the world today. By identifying a totally new (albeit ancient), but religious group who hated Muslims, even though with members living in the United States, he has effectively demonstrated that fanatics of any group cannot be merged to condemn an entire country or religious group. Kudos to Erec Stebbins in successfully creating a thriller based upon today's world issues... Indeed, this terrorist was easily comparable to Osama bin Laden... And it is these pockets of fanatics that the world must work together to identify and eliminate...

Aside from the political issues, this story is excitingly epic in scope and complexity, with wonderful characters that face their own demons while fighting for their countries...  I especially enjoyed how the team was able to identify--indeed mapped out where attacks would be--cool hunting technique developed by the author! The sensational climax was breathtaking... and a perfect ending, given the story line...

Those who enjoy thrillers based upon today's headlines - I consider this a must-read! Enjoy this novel which became one of my favorites of 2013...


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