by Brad Thor
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From the book
Dressed in the traditional robes of a Muslim pilgrim, a lone figure tore back the carpeting from beneath a window of the sumptuously appointed room and fastened the feet of a tripod firmly into the concrete floor with a commercial-grade bolt gun.
The equipment had been smuggled into Saudi Arabia's Dar Al Taqwa Inter-Continental Hotel via several large suitcases and a hard-shell golf club case. Arabs, even in Medina, loved their golf, after all, and no one had given any of the cases a second look.
Finally assembled and secured to its launching platform, the second-generation TOW 2 Short missile was something to behold. Though it retained the same three-foot ten-inch profile of the ones Israel had used during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the effective range of the weapon had increased by almost a thousand yards, and was now the length of forty-one football fields -- more than enough to deliver today's deadly payload.
The missile's optical sighting unit was securely positioned in the adjoining hotel room, and its crosshairs were fixed upon its target. An infrared sensor would track the weapon's trajectory and progress, relaying any last-minute adjustments. At such close range though, there'd be no need for adjustments. It would be like shooting fish in a barrel.
The digital fuse was set for ten minutes into the night prayer session of the Prophet's Mosque, the second-holiest shrine in Islam. Friday was the most important day of worship in the Muslim faith, and the evening prayer sessions were always the most heavily attended. The timing of the attack insured maximum carnage. With a Do Not Disturb sign hung on the doors of both rooms, the terrorist would be resting comfortably on a first-class flight to Cairo by the time the missile launched. From Cairo, a clandestine transport network would round out the journey home just as today's events were being broadcast on the evening news.
As the digital fuse began its devastating countdown, the terrorist spray-painted a large hand cradling the Star of David on the wall.
For a moment, scenes of a happier time flashed through the terrorist's mind. A time before the hatred was so deeply entrenched. Two young lovers from different walks of life, two different sides of the struggle, walked together along a river in fall. Bells rang in the distance and they cherished the good fortune that had brought them together. Though each had been raised to hate the other, love had blossomed between them. But, there were influences at work greater than their love. It was those influences that would change their lives, and the world, forever.
The terrorist's eyes, normally silver in color, now flashed coal black with hate as the final letters were painted beneath the hand. It was a simple, yet chilling three-word message, "Terror For Terror."
Two hours later, a stream of worshippers hurried themselves along, late for the sunset prayer. As they entered the Prophet's Mosque, right leg first as custom dictated, each supplicated, saying, "I seek refuge with the Mighty Allah. I seek protection in His Generous Countenance...
About the Author-
- Brad Thor is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of eighteen thrillers, including Use of Force, The Last Patriot (nominated best thriller of the year by the International Thriller Writers Association), Blowback (recognized as one of the "Top 100 Killer Thrillers of All Time" by NPR), The Athena Project, and Foreign Influence (one of Suspense Magazine's best political thrillers of the year). Visit his website at BradThor.com and follow Brad on Facebook at Facebook.com/BradThorOfficial and on Twitter @BradThor.
- Secret Service Agent Scott Horvath searches for Hassim Nidal, son of legendary assassin Abu Nidal. The only nonterrorist who can identify Nidal is Meg Cassidy, a public relations expert who somehow thwarts a hijacking by Nidal, then pairs with Horvath in working with the CIA to find him before he attempts another. They search four continents, avoiding death, with Horvath's instincts invariably correct. Audibly enjoying the reading, Armand Schultz endows Horvath with a macho bravado that propels the unlikely plot to its unlikely conclusion. Schultz revels in the dialogue between Horvath and the head of the CIA team, whom he despises, and makes the most of the nonstop action. D.J.S. (c) AudioFile 2003, Portland, Maine
January 6, 2003
If Thor's second international thriller had any more testosterone, it would grow hair. This follow-up to The Lions of Lucerne
is loaded with explosions, gunfights, car chases and hairbreadth escapes as Secret Service agent Scot Harvath battles religious extremists and incompetent CIA spooks to save the world from WWIII. The Hand of God, an apparent Israeli terrorist group, is blowing up mosques in Saudi Arabia, assassinating Arab leaders and hijacking airplanes, all in an effort to provoke the Arab world into war with Israel. Harvath tries to derail the terrorist plot and avenge the deaths of buddies killed in the first book. Aided by Meg Cassidy, a beautiful Chicago public relations expert, Harvath chases the terrorist leader and a silver-eyed assassin from Hong Kong through Europe to North Africa. However, since Cassidy is the only one alive who has seen the face of the terrorist leader, the assassin chases them, too, trying to kill Cassidy before she can point him out. The story is one bloody episode after another, with a touch of romance and colorful turf battles between the CIA, FBI, Delta Force and Harvath himself. Thor stacks the deck in favor of his hero—Harvath never makes a mistake, and his view of how counterterrorism operations should be conducted is invariably proven correct. To top it off, he boasts about his remarkable talents. With its infallible hero, fetching sidekick and wicked bad guys, this international shoot 'em up sticks close to formula, but the well-choreographed action and thrills will keep readers engrossed. Agent, Heidi Lange, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Jan.)Forecast:Thor is the host of a PBS travel show,
Traveling Lite. Cross-promotion with PBS, plus an eight-city tour, will give him an edge in this crowded genre.
PublisherSimon & Schuster Audio
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