Howard Gordon Gideon's War: A Novel

ISBN 13: 9781442335820

Gideon's War: A Novel

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9781442335820: Gideon's War: A Novel

From the executive producer of 24 , a debut thriller not to be missed! Gideon Davis has just one day to bring his rogue brother to justice—before a vast global conspiracy turns deadly.

Gideon Davis, whose behind-the-scenes negotiating skills have earned him the roll of Peacemaker in conflicts around the globe, knows more about hush-hush discussions in Capitol corridors than he does about hand-to-hand combat. But his more practical, tactical skills come into play when he’s called on by family friend and government bigwig Earl Parker to chaperone a rogue agent from the Southeast Asia to D.C. The agent, Tillman Davis has promised to turn himself in—but only to his brother Gideon.

When the plan for Tillman’s surrender goes awry, Gideon must evade hostile locals to make his way to The Obelisk—the multi-million-dollar, state-of-the-art oil rig that has been seized by terrorists. Both Tillman—who doesn’t seem to have surrender in mind—and Earl Parker are aboard the ill-fated rig; Tillman working undercover and Parker as a hostage. As tensions rise, Gideon launches an unlikely one-man rescue.

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About the Author:

Howard Gordon is an Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning writer and producer who has worked in Hollywood for more than twenty years. He co-created the hit Showtime series Homeland, and is the showrunner of the NBC series Awake. He also served as executive producer of the hit television show 24 for its full eight-season run, and prior to working on 24, Gordon was a writer and executive producer for The X-Files. He lives with his family in Pacific Palisades, California.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

PROLOGUE

COLE RANSOM WAS TIRED from the long flight, though not too tired to admire the functional design of the airport. Passing easily through customs, he followed the bilingual signs that led him outside to the area for ground transportation. He didn’t lose a step as the glass doors slid open and he walked outside, where he was hit by a whoosh of blazing tropical air. Squinting against the impossibly bright sun, he could see the glass and steel spires of the capital city of the Sultanate of Mohan rising in the distance.

A man—unmistakably American—stood next to a black Suburban parked by the curb. He wore dark wraparound sunglasses, a camo baseball cap, and a heavy beard. An ID badge hung from his belt. The sign in his hand said DR. COLE RANSOM. If not for the beard, he would have looked like a soldier or a cop.

“Dr. Ransom,” the man said, lowering his sign and holding out his hand. Ransom reached out to shake it, but the man smiled. “I’ll take your bags, sir,” the man said.

“Right. Sorry,” Ransom said, handing him his suitcase.

“I can take the other one if you want,” the bearded man said, nodding toward Ransom’s laptop.

“That’s okay,” Ransom said. “I’ll hold on to it.” He had come to Mohan on the biggest job of his career. The last thing he needed was his laptop getting smashed or stolen.

The driver put Ransom’s suitcase into the back of the Suburban and closed the gate, then opened the rear passenger door for Ransom, who climbed inside.

The driver settled behind the wheel, then glanced at Ransom in the rearview. “Dr. Ransom, before we get going, you might want to double-check that you’ve got everything. Bags, passport, computer?”

Ransom took a quick inventory. “Yeah, that’s everything. And you can call me Cole. I’m just a structural engineer.”

The driver smiled as he started the ignition. “I know who you are, sir.”

Ransom was, in fact, one of the finest structural engineers in the world. He was here in the Sultanate of Mohan to test the structural integrity of the Obelisk—a newly built deep-sea oil rig, the largest and most expensive in the history of man’s quest for crude. There had been problems with the motion-damping system, and he was here to sort them out.

The Suburban exited the airport through a security gate, then turned onto a service road. To the right stretched a long swath of deserted beach and beyond it, the glittering blue surface of the South China Sea. Ransom would be spending the next few weeks somewhere out there. As the Obelisk was being phased into service, it had begun to exhibit some troubling sway characteristics in rough seas. Kate Murphy, the manager of the rig, suspected a design flaw. The rig’s designers insisted that she was being paranoid, or at the very least, that she was trying to cover her ass to cover her production shortfall. Ransom had talked extensively with Kate before flying out, and she didn’t sound even remotely like an alarmist. But you never really knew. Ransom had come here to run some tests and see who was right.

The Suburban suddenly lifted and fell on its suspension, pulling Ransom from his thoughts. The driver had turned off the service road onto a short gravel track that led down to the beach. He stopped the Suburban in what looked like an abandoned quarry. Ransom was puzzled.

“Why are we stopping here?”

“I need to make sure you’ve got your passport,” the driver said.

Ransom gave the driver a curious look. That was the second time he’d asked about the passport.

“I told you before. I’ve got it.”

“I should probably hold on to it up here.”

“Why?”

“We’ve had some civil unrest these last few weeks. We’ll be passing through some checkpoints the government’s put up, and I’ll need to show the soldiers your passport.” The bearded man held out his hand, palm up.

Ransom wondered why the driver hadn’t asked for it back at the airport as he dipped into his breast pocket for his passport and handed it to the driver. The bearded man scrutinized the little blue booklet. Ransom felt his heart rate speed up slightly, felt a tickle of concern in the back of his neck.

“This civil unrest . . . how serious is it?” Ransom asked.

The bearded man lowered the passport and looked up at Ransom. “Ever hear of the terrorist Abu Nasir?”

Ransom frowned and shook his head. “No, I haven’t.”

“Now you have.”

Ransom saw the big black circle pointing at him before he realized the driver was holding a large automatic pistol in his hand. Then the driver shot him in the face.

© 2011 Teakwood Lane Productions, Inc.

CHAPTER ONE

UNTIL HE TRIED PUTTING on his tuxedo, Gideon Davis didn’t realize how much weight he’d gained. The extra pounds were hardly noticeable on his muscular six-foot-one frame, but Gideon had felt the tug across his shoulders when he buttoned his jacket earlier that afternoon. Now, it felt even tighter, and he tried to keep himself from squirming in his chair as the president of the United States addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations.

“. . . ten thousand lives have been lost in the bloody civil war between the Guaviare militia and the armed forces of the Colombian government, most of them innocent civilians. For years, both sides repeately rejected calls for a cease-fire, until the prospect of a peaceful resolution to the conflict seemed unattainable to everyone in the international community. Everyone . . . except for one man.” President Alton Diggs nodded toward Gideon, who smiled a smile that felt as tight as his tuxedo. Being in the spotlight was something he still hadn’t grown accustomed to.

Seventeen hours earlier, Gideon had been sitting in a jungle hut in Colombia, while armed men prowled around, waiting for an excuse to start shooting one another. The cease-fire he’d negotiated was the culmination of a three-month-long series of marathon sessions during which he’d spent day and night shuttling between government and rebel forces, usually eating the same meal twice—once with each faction—which accounted for the extra ten pounds he’d put on. In order to keep the warring sides at the table, he’d partaken of huge heaping portions of ajiaco, the traditional stew made of chicken, corn, potatoes, avocado, and guascas, a local herb, and chunchullo, fried cow intestines. As effective a diplomatic strategy as it was, Gideon knew that no amount of food would make the cease-fire hold. Chances were slim that it would last through the month. But the president had told him the best way to maintain the cease-fire was to get the international community invested, and the best way to get them invested was through a major media event. And the media loved Gideon Davis.

President Diggs continued reciting for the audience some highlights of Gideon’s career as a Special Presidential Envoy. He credited Gideon with defusing crises from the Balkans to Waziristan, and for being among the first public figures with the courage to argue that the United States needed to rethink its approach to the war on terror. To his detractors, Gideon was dangerous—a pie-in-the-sky slave to political correctness who thought the enemies of Western civilization could be jawboned into holding hands and singing “Kumbaya.” But anyone who’d ever spent any time with Gideon knew how far from the truth that was. They knew he was a straight talker with zero tolerance for bullshit. They knew he listened to people. Simple enough virtues, but ones rarely found in Washington—which was why some insiders had tagged Gideon as the fastest rising star in American politics. Before Gideon had left for Colombia, President Diggs had let slip that some party bigwigs were considering him for one of several upcoming races. One rumor even had Gideon on the president’s short list of potential running mates. This caught Gideon by surprise, since he’d never had any real political ambitions. Exposing his private life to that kind of scrutiny, and having to make the inevitable compromises that come with holding public office, had no interest for him. But the prospect of wielding enough power to make a real difference in world affairs had caused Gideon to rethink his position. It was one of the reasons he’d agreed to squeeze into his tuxedo to accept this award from the president, who was now winding up his introduction.

“. . . more than simply building bridges, this man has dedicated himself to that ancient and most sacred cornerstone of our moral code: Thou Shalt Not Kill. And so, it is my great privilege to present the United Nations Medal of Peace to one of the great peacemakers of our time, Gideon Davis.”

Gideon approached the podium to a generous stream of applause. He shook the president’s hand, then bowed his head to allow him to place the ribboned medallion around his neck.

“Thank you, Mr. President,” Gideon said, before acknowledging several other heads of state whom protocol deemed worthy of acknowledgment. “This is a great honor, and I accept it with gratitude and humility. All of us in this room know that peace is more than just the absence of war . . . it’s also the absence of poverty and injustice. The real work still lies ahead of us, and its ultimate success depends on the diplomatic and economic support of every country represented in this room tonight.” As Gideon continued to talk about the necessity of international solidarity, he saw a woman in a red dress stifle a yawn. He was losing them. But that didn’t stop him from making the point he wanted to make—that the real heroes were the men and women in Colombia who had fo...

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