Thriller Bing West The Pepperdogs: A Novel

ISBN 13: 9780743235891

The Pepperdogs: A Novel

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9780743235891: The Pepperdogs: A Novel

The Serbs behind them were preparing to attack, and in front of them lay open ground, flat and white as a shroud. We've run a hundred miles, Lang thought, to come up a football field short.


When a fellow Marine is kidnapped, Captain Mark Lang and his recon team, the Pepperdogs, disobey orders and cross into snowbound Serbia to rescue him. A leader who can't quit, Lang is urged on by his team members. Five New York City reservists -- a trader, a fireman, an auto mechanic, a fitness trainer and a computer geek -- set out on an impossible odyssey. Superbly fit and equipped, they employ speed, ambush and the Internet to close in on their target.

After a team member sends back e-mails describing their firefights, the Pepperdogs become front-page news. Once Weekend Warriors, by the end of their mission they are the most feared unit in Europe, fighting anyone who stands in their way. The press calls them "The Wild Bunch on technological steroids." Lang, haunted by memories of his missing buddy's dying mother, knows the horrific costs they are inflicting but won't turn back. Their rescue mission, condemned by the military, slowly escalates into a standoff between the Oval Office and NATO Europe with the world watching.

A razor-sharp storyteller and Pentagon insider, Bing West unleashes a blistering techno thriller that probes the limits of physical and mental endurance. Drawing on firsthand knowledge of combat, West fuses the grit of Blackhawk Down with the behind-the-scenes intrigue of The West Wing, showing how in the near future a squad can become wired to the White House, to the dismay of the traditional chain of command. The Pepperdogs is a gripping story about American reserves, conflicting loyalties and devotion to comrade. What price will a nation pay to save one life?

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From the Publisher:

Five reservists from New York City, a firefighter, a toy-store executive, an auto mechanic, a computer nerd and a commodities trader. But that hardly does them justice. They are, in fact, something of a new breed: a carefully selected, superbly conditioned reconnaissance team (The Pepperdogs), highly trained to infiltrate enemy lines and cause maximum chaos wherever they operate. Things in the Balkans are relatively quiet post 9/11, which is how US policy wonks much prefer it. But lotsa luck. Captain Tyler Cosgrove, an American marine a day away from shipping home to be with his dying mother, is whacked on the head and hijacked by a brutish Serbian soldier who covets his motorbike. Faster than you can say Semper Fi!, and without the formality of specific orders, Captain Mark Lang mounts up. "Get gear and pull ammo," he tells his team, partly because Cosgrove is Lang's best friend and partly because marines don't leave marines to un-tender mercies. So begins an improbable two-day journey as the Pepperdogs walk a hundred miles and fight eight pitched battles, by then having enraged the Serbs, tickled the Muslims, annoyed their own brass, and made headlines all over the world, laudatory and condemnatory in about equal measure. As for the mission, well, they're marines, aren't they?

First-novelist West, himself a former marine captain (The Villager, 1972) takes on complex themes here -- duty, loyalty, and what to do when they conflict -- and deals with them capably. Mostly, though, this is a story about warriors, told authoritatively and brilliantly.

About the Author:

Bing West served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs in the Reagan administration. He was a member of force recon team Primness, which ambushed a North Vietnamese battalion thus initiating Operation Stingray, whose behind-the-lines tactics are the backdrop for The Pepperdogs. His nonfiction book The Village (Pocket Books) has received high praise for describing close combat. He was a lead CNN military analyst during Desert Storm. Three generations of Wests have served in Marine infantry and his firm, GAMA Corporation, conducts combat training for the Marine Corps. He lives in Newport, Rhode Island, and Washington, D.C.

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