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Recuperating in Switzerland after a job that cost the life of one of his closest friends, ex-deniable operator Nick Stone has only two things on his mind: to ask his girlfriend Silky to marry him, and to lead a quieter life.
But when his newfound love disappears, Nick is forced back into action. The trail leads him to Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where it isn’t long before the past comes knocking on his door. . .
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As a member of 22 SAS Regiment since 1984, Andy McNab was involved in special operations worldwide. He was the British Army’s most highly decorated serving soldier when he finally left the SAS in 1993. He wrote about his experiences in two phenomenal bestsellers, Bravo Two Zero, which was filmed in 1998, starring Sean Bean, and Immediate Action. He is the author of the bestsellers Remote Control, Crisis Four, Firewall, Last Light, Liberation Day and Dark Winter.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Davy had offloaded his 175 Yamaha and gone ahead to recce the valley. He'd be back soon, unless the rebels had caught him. We'd been training Mobutu's troops against these guys, and we knew that knitting baby bootees and collecting china thimbles wasn't high on their list of favourite hobbies.
When you're up against the kind of guys who routinely machete off an entire village's lips because one of the locals has been overheard saying something not nice about the president, you know it's time to check chamber.
Our four ancient, rusting Renault trucks were spread out and static just below the crest of the high ground. The drivers had killed their engines the moment we got here. It wasn't something you'd normally do with old wagons like these, in case they refused to fire up again, but we didn't have a whole lot of choice; the Zaďreans had only been able to find us a couple of dozen jerry-cans of fuel at such short notice, and those engines drank like a Swede on a stag night.
The early-afternoon sun was relentless. So were the flies. The fuckers had found us within minutes and it took a neverending Thai hand dance to keep them out of my face. I wiped sweat from my eyes with the corner of a red gingham tablecloth I'd ripped in half and draped over my head and shoulders. I'd put the other half to good use too: it covered the working parts of my GPMG.
I opened the top cover and let the belt of 7.62mm link drop out. I lifted the feed tray, peered into the empty chamber and smoothed away a few grains of sand with a finger. We'd been bouncing along dirt tracks all the way from Kinshasa, and even the high commissioner's table linen couldn't stop the stuff finding its way into every nook and cranny. It didn't matter that my nose and eyes were full of grit, but it would if it got into the working parts and the gun jammed at just the moment I needed it to go bang.
Satisfied that the feed tray and chamber were shit-free, I cradled the link in my left hand as I threaded it back on to the feed tray. Then I slammed the top cover down again and thumped it with my fist for good measure; the belt was firmly in place. I gave the gun's ancient wooden carry handle a jiggle to make sure the bipod was wedged firmly between the two sandbags lashed to the bonnet. We didn't know how many rebels there were down in the valley, or how well they were armed, but when the shit hit the gingham I wanted to be giving as good as I got.
I winced as I sat down. The seat covers were baking hot; so was the bodywork, steering-wheel, you name it. The whole front of the vehicle was open to the sun. We'd only had an hour to get our shit together, but we'd managed to strip the Renaults to the bone to make their profile as low as possible. We'd ripped the canopies off the cabs, the rear frame and canvas. There were sandbags where the windscreen used to be to provide a gun platform and the illusion of protection against small arms.
'Mad dogs and Englishmen . . .' Sam muttered, behind the wheel. In his Glasgow growl, even 'Good morning' sounded like a death threat.
'Mad Jocks, more like it,' I said.
Sam and I were both wearing cheap market sunglasses, and old woolly gloves to protect our hands against the UVA. He also sported his trademark wide-brimmed and very sweatstained bush hat; if I'd been a pale-faced, skirt-wearing oatmeal savage I'd have done the same. Sam was so fairskinned he got burned by a fridge light.
He checked the watch that hung from his neck on a piece of para cord. 'That's an hour he's been gone.' He kept it inside his shirt so the sun didn't glint off the glass and give our position away. Basic fieldcraft: shine was just one of the things that had to be concealed when moving tactically cross-country; shape was another -- which was why we were below the crest of the hill and not on top of it.
I hoped Davy hadn't broken down. The Yammy wasn't exactly in showroom condition. We'd stolen it from outside a bar on the outskirts of the capital. With luck the poor fucker it belonged to didn't depend on it for his livelihood.
Way in the distance, a few clouds dotted the sky. I wondered whether there was any chance of them teaming up and delivering a downpour. Anything to clear the heat haze bouncing off the scrubland in front of me.
Somewhere down in the dead ground in front of us there was an old plantation, abandoned when the Belgian colonials finally did a runner in the sixties, and inside the gated walls a cavalcade of Mercs: it had been heading west to rendezvous somewhere along Zaďre's thirty-six kilometres of South Atlantic coastline with a fast boat from the American Third Fleet. They'd got this far, but couldn't go any further. Rebels -- nobody knew how many -- were blocking the only road out.
The int we'd been given was sketchy. All we knew was that the limos had stuff in the boot that nobody was telling us much about, and three officials from the British High Commission were stranded alongside them. Their job had been to liaise with the Zaďreans and supervise the handover to the Americans.
'Politically sensitive material,' was all Captain Standish, the team's rupert, was telling us. 'Important to the West's relationship with Mobutu.'
The joke going round the team was that the most sensitive material of all was the stuff covering Annabel's tits; she was one of the three from the High Commission and Standish had been shagging her from the day we'd arrived. He was stupid enough to think we didn't know.
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Book Description Bantam Press, 2006. Hardcover. Condition: Used; Good. Fast Dispatch. Expedited UK Delivery Available. Excellent Customer Service. Seller Inventory # BBI2200351
Book Description Bantam Press, 2006. Hardcover. Condition: Used; Very Good. Fast Dispatch. Expedited UK Delivery Available. Excellent Customer Service. Seller Inventory # BBI2244061
Book Description Bantam Press, 2006. Hardcover. Condition: Used; Very Good. Fast Dispatch. Expedited UK Delivery Available. Excellent Customer Service. Seller Inventory # BBI2076589