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Authors: Ian Barclay


BOOK: Reprisal
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Cairo Kill

A bullet whistled past Dartley’s ear like a crazed hornet as he pumped another shell into the chamber. The stinging impact
of a dozen pieces of shot got across the message to Omar Zekri that his pistol was no match for a pump-action shot gun. The
man turned and ran.

Dartley’s voice was easy: “Omar, I guess you never heard the good advice never to be the bait in your own trap.”

He loosed a blast from the gun which caught Omar in the chest and knocked him over like a soda bottle. He sat up in the roadway,
an unrecognizable pulp of blood, hair and gristle. Dartley sent a second load into the half-butchered carcass. This time the
bloodied torso fell back and lay still.

Dartley gestured to a terrified Abdel Ibrahim with the smoking barrel of the big gun. “You drive.”

Also by Ian Barclay

The Crime Minister

The Crime Minister: Reprisal

Published by




Copyright © 1985 by Ian Barclay

All rights reserved.

Warner Books, Inc.

Hachette Book Group

237 Park Avenue

New York, NY 10017

Visit our website at

First eBook Edition: December 2009

ISBN: 978-0-446-56756-5


Cairo Kill

Also by Ian Barclay


Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14


Chestnut and oak leaves rattled down the road in scurries of an October wind. The young boy’s mother called out the front
window of their home for him to button his coat. She said it in French, so her eight-year-old immediately obeyed. Here in
France he had taken to ignoring her when she spoke to him in Arabic or English. The family had never spoken French back in
Egypt. Her husband was fluent in the language, and her son was already speaking in the local accent and using slang. Only
she continued to have difficulties, and she knew that she was an embarrassment to her son before his friends here, a foreigner
so barbaric she did not appreciate their precious language.

The previous day her husband received another of the phone calls at his lab in the Centre d’Etudes Nucleaires. It was a different
voice this time, but again the man spoke in English with a strong Egyptian accent. They were to be made an example of, so
others equally reluctant to perform their patriotic duty might learn from their mistake.

When the Light of Islam fundamentalists suddenly overthrew the Mubarak government in Cairo, her husband happened to be at
a conference in Brussels on the peaceful uses of atomic energy. An Egyptian civil servant at that time, almost a year ago,
her husband had added his vacation to the conference and taken her and their son with him to Brussels. They had been lucky
to be away. Her father and one of her husband’s brothers had been killed in the bloodlettings and purges after the takeover.
They would never go back. Both of them felt this way. No matter what they were offered to return. No matter how they were

Because of the phone call, she had walked the boy to school and picked him up in the afternoon. Now she was keeping a close
eye on him as he played with a neighbor’s dog in front of the house. She was cleaning the windows, shivering because she was
unaccustomed to the raw October wind of northern Europe.

She noticed a black car pass the house. She couldn’t tell one make of car from another, and she only looked because they had
so little traffic on that road in the town of Saclay. The car seemed to slow a little in front of the house, and the driver
glanced in and caught her eye for a moment before moving on. There was another man next to him in the front seat.

It was the same car a few minutes later, black, two men in the front seat—although this time the driver was on the side farthest
from her since they were coming from the other direction.

The car was not traveling fast, and the driver deliberately swung the front in, so that its side was almost scraping the low
wall of the tiny garden in front of the house. Her son turned and ran before it like a small frightened rabbit.

The front of the car struck him in the back and lifted him into the air. His light frail body smashed against the windshield,
rolled rapidly across the roof, and dropped on the road in the wake of the car.

She dropped her cloth, leaped through the open window into a flower bed, and ran to the garden gate, which was ajar. She was

Before she reached the gate, the black car was backing up. The man next to the driver had his head out the window and was
shouting instructions in Egyptian.

The rear wheel crossed over the child’s body. The boy’s head and shoulders were beneath the vehicle. His sneakers kicked as
the tire sank a narrow lane across his chest.

“It’s getting late, lieutenant,” the gendarme said to Laforque. “You’d better go now if you want to see the body.”

Laforque had a bony face and wore a dirty trenchcoat. No more than in his mid-thirties, he already looked soured on life.
He said, “Any reason I need to?”

“No,” the gendarme said. “I usually try to avoid dead kids myself when I get the chance.”

The gendarme was at least fifteen years older than his superior officer and was not afraid to have his say.
The two plainclothesmen went to a bar and ordered Ricards.

“Maybe you think it was a waste of your time, lieutenant, having to leave Paris to come down here—”

“No, I don’t.” Laforque had forgotten the gendarme’s name. “If they had listened to you in the first place, that scientist
might never have caused all this fuss.”

The gendarme was pleased. “I put in the call as soon as I heard what the child’s father had to say about threats being made
against them, especially because they were Arabs. I don’t mind
Arabs, like the Algerians and Syrians. But the Egyptians weren’t ours. Why didn’t they go to England and bring their troubles

“Because this Egyptian is an important nuclear scientist,” Laforque said.

“Well, they have nuclear stuff in England too,” the gendarme grumbled, lighting an unfiltered Gitane. “I still say they should
have gone there and let us alone.”

Laforque was undecided. So far Paris had handled things badly, and he didn’t want to make bad worse by overreacting. The gendarme
had acted professionally. As soon as the boy’s parents had made the claim their son was murdered, he had notified Paris on
an emergency basis. When no response came, the Egyptian pair drove into Paris themselves and somehow managed to interest Dutch
television in their story. Government-run French TV had no choice but to pick up the story too. Which meant that what the
Egyptian pair claimed had to be taken seriously. Like the gendarme said, because they were Arabs.

Lieutenant Laforque was liaison officer between the Gendarmerie Nationale HQ and its counterterrorist unit GIGN (Groupement
d’Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale). GIGN was primarily an HRU (hostage rescue unit) and had sprung more than two
hundred and fifty captives in its ten years’ existence. But the unit was also on call as a SWAT team, unlike most HRUs in
other countries. Every man in GIGN passed tests in endurance, swimming, running while laden with equipment, marksmanship,
martial arts… fought full-contact karate with Black Belt instructors, warded off attack-trained dogs, attended parachute jump
school at Pau and high-speed driver training at Le Mans… rappelled down the side of a highrise building, holding the rope
in one hand and a pistol in the other, shooting at designated targets while coming down fast. GIGN’s best known mission had
been their rescue of a busload of French schoolchildren seized by terrorists on the border of Somalia.

Laforque had graduated from this school of hard knocks with a bullet lodged next to his spine. He had been taken off the active
list and been given a commission. Lieutenant. If he behaved and made no big mistakes, one day he might make captain. He said
nothing, but others remarked that he seemed less than thrilled at this prospect. It was rumored he had been recruited by one
of the intelligence services.

The gendarme next to him in the bar knew none of this. To him Laforque was just another of those deskbound pen pushers from
HQ who got irritable when asked to visit the outskirts of the city.

The lieutenant made up his mind. “I can’t put a GIGN team on the house as things presently stand.
We don’t even know if the pair will return here tonight. They may stay in Paris. Last I heard of them, they were on their
way to see German and English reporters. They may be in New York by now, for all I know.”

“Their child is in the morgue here,” the gendarme said flatly. “They’ll be back to bury him.”

“You’re right. I know that the initial medical examination backs up the mother’s story of the car first hitting the child
and then backing up to deliberately run over him, so we’re probably not dealing with a hysterical story. I know that the parents
may be in danger. But you have to understand that I can’t call in a GIGN unit here and then tell the men to go hide in the
bushes. There has to be a… a situation first. Someone for them to fight.”

“I understand, m’sieu.”

Laforque bought two more drinks. “All right, so I’m dumping on you. I’ve got no other choice.” He made a smudge of water on
the plastic counter. “Say that’s Paris. Here we are in Saclay, to the southwest. Here’s GIGN in Maisons-Alfort, to the southeast,
maybe twenty kilometers away. Any sign of trouble, call this number I’m giving you and“—his index finger traced an inverted
semicircle beneath the smudge representing Paris—“this place will be overrun in no time. I’ll put in an alert. Can we depend
on you to watch the house tonight?”

The gendarme nodded grumpily, making it plain he thought this was not how things should be done.

Laforque glanced at his wristwatch. “Got to go.” He left a tip on the counter, shook hands, and took long strides out the

The gendarme surveyed the tip, decided it was too much and ordered another Ricard from it.

When the couple got back shortly after eleven that night, the gendarme got out of his car and stood in their headlights in
order to reassure them.

“For a moment, we wondered who it might be parked outside the house,” the man said.

“You were right to be cautious, sir,” the gendarme said, peering in their car window, feeling that he was breathing the fear
they gave off like a poison gas. “No need to worry. I’ll be sitting in this car out here all night.”

The gendarme had no plans to ambush terrorists or behave like a hero. He had placed his battered Citroen in a highly visible
position directly in front of the two-story house. He sat behind the wheel and smoked cigarettes. Every half hour he got out
and walked up and down the empty road beneath a single street lamp. The last lighted windows, in a house down the road, went
dark sometime after one. The gendarme sighed and settled down to a long slow watch. What he disliked about all-night surveillance
was how it raised gloomy thoughts in his mind, gave him time to brood, to go over wrongs done to him and all his disappointments.
He could feel this despondent mood coming on and did not look forward to his own company during the long night.

A little after three he thought he noticed a movement in the garden to one side of the house. A shadow… for an instant. He
could not be sure.

He stayed where he was in the car, looking intently at the place. He saw nothing further. Having slipped
the door handle quietly, he eased out of the Citroen, his pistol in his right hand, a flashlight in his left coat pocket.

The gendarme sat on the garden wall, raised his legs over it and stood again inside. The only sound as he moved forward into
the dark was that of rose thorns catching the fabric of his pants leg.

Two figures behind the house—definitely!


The gendarme fired. They disappeared.

He did not turn on the flashlight, not wanting to make himself an easy target. He stared into the dark, motionless, looking
for any more signs of movement. Sticks snapped a distance back in the trees, as if someone stood on them. A window lit upstairs
and placed an elongated rectangle of pale light on the ground in back of the house. The couple had been woken by his pistol
shot; if they had ever managed to sleep.

Just then he noticed that a ground floor window was open. They had been inside!

“Come down quickly,” the gendarme shouted up at the lighted window. “Come as you are. Fast.”

BOOK: Reprisal
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