sThe Quiet Wart

BOOK: sThe Quiet Wart
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The Quiet War

Peter Widdows

Copyright © 2015 Peter Widdows

The moral right of the author has been asserted.

Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of research or private study,

or criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents

Act 1988, this publication may only be reproduced, stored or transmitted, in

any form or by any means, with the prior permission in writing of the

publishers, or in the case of reprographic reproduction in accordance with

the terms of licences issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency. Enquiries

concerning reproduction outside those terms should be sent to the publishers.

All characters in this book are ficticious and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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ISBN 9781784629182

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A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

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®
is an imprint of Troubador Publishing Ltd

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Contents
About the author

The Quiet War is Peter Widdows' second novel and follows on from his debut novel,
Incorporated Evil.

Born in Manchester, UK, Widdows has spent most of his adult life to date living in other countries, including: the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Germany. A former soldier, he spent a long period as a CEO for a multinational food company, before returning to the UK to pursue his writing career.

He now lives in Cheshire, UK, with his Australian partner, Louise, and their Bernese Mountain Dog, Lily.

Other Books by this Author

Incoporated Evil

A BUSINESS WITH ONE GOAL … ABSOLUTE POWER

Charles Barker-Willet is the world's richest man and the brilliant Founder & CEO of BW Corp. When failing business journalist, Sean McManus, is sent on a routine assignment to write a piece about BW Corp, he decides to take a closer look into Barker-Willet's affairs, in the hope that he might find something to revive his flagging career.

*

Within days, McManus's world is turned upside down and his career ambitions are replaced by the simple will to survive. His investigation takes him around the globe and puts his life in ever increasing jeopardy as he battles insurmountable odds to expose the heinous truth.

The Quiet War

Projected onto a wall of the European Parliament building in Brussels; the following quote greets visitors:

…national sovereignty is the root cause of the most crying evils of our time and the steady march of humanity back to tragic disaster and barbarism… The only final remedy for this supreme and catastrophic evil of our time is a federal union of the peoples…

Lord Lothian (Philip Kerr),
The Ending of Armageddon,
1939.

Such a blatant display of anti-sovereignty propaganda may surprise most people. But this out-dated and out of context quote says everything the EU wants you to believe: that a single European state, in which once powerful nations like France, Germany and the UK are reduced to nothing more than provinces, is the
only
way to a peaceful and prosperous future.

Prologue
Today. A warehouse near Krupka, Czech Republic.

‘Now is our time,' the speaker shouted venomously into the microphone, energizing the select group gathered before him. On the inner rows, the
Kravattennazis
(‘Tie Nazis') were dressed smartly in business suits, their neat hair combed carefully into place. On the outer rows, the
Stiefeinnazis
(‘Boot Nazis') were clad in shortened jeans, with calf-high Doc Martens and sweatshirts, their freshly shaved heads shining in the bright lights.

‘The people grow tired of the weak politicians driving our great nations ever closer to financial ruin and racial obscurity. And in their torment, who do they turn to? Us… real leaders… leaders with the guts to put right the Jew-led wrongs of the past 100 years.' The speaker paused to let the loud cheers die down before continuing.

‘It's a terrible injustice that our great Führer didn't live to witness the events that are about to unfold; to see his inspired vision take shape and watch us take our rightful place as the leaders of Europe. Not the fractured Europe created by the traitors of Versailles, but a united Europe, working together to bring the Aryan dream into reality.'

As the speaker stepped away from the podium, the lights were dimmed and a long vertical flag was unfurled in the darkness at the back of the stage.

Suddenly, a single spotlight penetrated the blackness and highlighted the bright blue flag, with a ring of gold stars in the middle. Inside the ring of stars, a white circle adorned with a black swastika shimmered in the bright light. Following some gasps of appreciation, the room erupted with repeated shouts of
‘Sieg heil',
as the impassioned group raised the Nazi salute.

Author's Note

If the European Union becomes a single federal state, it will be the world's largest economic and military superpower, and its leader will be the most powerful person the world has ever seen.

PART ONE
Chapter One
Monday, 7
th
September. London, England.

Sean scratched at the scar on his neck. The doctor had told him not to and it irritated Liz, but he just couldn't resist any longer.

‘It'll never heal properly if you keep doing that,' Liz said, temporarily removing her concentration from a bowl of popping Rice Krispies.

‘I know, but it's just so… well… grr,' Sean replied, clenching his fist.

‘That's descriptive for somebody who's supposed to be an award-winning journalist.' Liz smirked.

‘Was.'

‘What?'

‘I
was
an award-winning journalist.
Now
I'm a washed out invalid with nothing to do but watch TV and pick my toenails.'

‘Oh, come on. You're only thirty-five and the doctor said you were ready to go back. If you want to, that is,' Liz said, after swallowing a mouthful of food.

‘What's that supposed to mean? You know I want to get back to work.'

‘Then take my grandpa's offer. It's the best you'll get.'

Liz's grandfather had offered to support them while they established themselves as a freelance reporting team: Sean the reporter; and Liz the researcher; just as they had been at the
Financial Daily
before the collapse of its owner, BW Corporation, had sent it into bankruptcy and they'd lost their jobs. It was a generous offer, made with good intentions, but it felt too much like charity, and Sean was just too proud to take it.

Pride aside, the thought of returning to a dreary business desk, in a nondescript office, writing boring pieces about dull corporate types, was almost unfathomable after the BW affair. He'd tasted success briefly and he wanted more. But there was more to consider than just blind ambition.
Could he actually do it again? Or had the BW piece just been a fluke?

Although he was well-educated, apparently good-looking, and secretly hard-working, Sean always felt inadequate when he compared himself to Liz. Everything just came so easily to her; she was stunningly beautiful, highly intelligent and a part of one of the richest families in Korea. More than that, she was so at ease with herself: happy with who she was and content not to let peer or societal pressure change her. Because of this, she projected an aura of calmness and confidence, which had entranced Sean ever since they met.

Casting his mind back to the events that led him to the best scoop of his life, he thought about how he and Liz had exposed the nefarious dealings of BW Corp.
Had it just been luck?

The piece he'd written on BW had earned him widespread critical acclaim and an Ernie award for outstanding journalism, but it had also left him with a bullet in the neck, another in the chest and two stab wounds. Following two weeks in a coma and six months in recovery, he'd finally been declared ‘fit' last Friday. Unfortunately, during his enforced six-month hiatus, the noise around his piece had died down, and he was almost back where he'd left off, viewed as a relatively competent business journalist, who'd maybe got lucky once, but failed capitalise on it.

‘I can get another job with a newspaper,' Sean answered.

‘Okay. Take one of the offers you've already got then,' Liz said, clipping her words.

Her tone didn't surprise Sean; he deserved it and he knew that she was growing tired of the same circular debate. ‘They're all crap. I want to do some
real
journalism, but nobody employs investigative journalists anymore,' he said.

‘Hmmm… what to do.' Liz rolled her eyes.

Even when she was angry Liz was still beautiful, but Sean resisted the urge to laugh. ‘I'm sorry. I know you think I'm being stubborn and that I could have the job of my dreams if I just accepted your granddad's offer, but it just seems, well… cheeky. We've only been together for six months; it hardly gives me the right to start raiding your family's fortunes.'

‘Sean, we're not setting up a competitor to Apple. It's just a few grand to keep us going until we can sell some stories. We've been living off him since you were shot. What's a few more months?' Liz's face conveyed her exasperation at the seemingly illogical situation.

‘That's different. I wasn't capable of working… and I was living off
you.
You
were living off him.'

‘Semantics.'

‘Principles!'

‘Whatever.' Liz returned to her breakfast, breathing in heavily. When she'd finished, she looked up. ‘Okay then, Mr Principles, how about this? I borrow the money from Grandpa, then I own the company and you work for me?' Liz opened her eyes wide, exposing the bright white area around her dark brown irises.

Sensing that he should object, Sean tensed, but then found little he could object to and slumped back into his seat.

‘That is, of course, unless you don't want to work for me? I am two years younger than you, after all,' Liz added, a slight grin breaking out on her face.

‘So, you'll be my boss?' he said, lowering his head slightly at the question.

‘Yes, and don't even think about pulling any of the stunts you did at the
Daily
. There'll be no sloping off for a cheeky pint at three o'clock; no pieces that could've been written by an illiterate student… and… '

‘And?'

‘You have to massage my feet every afternoon.' Liz was now grinning broadly.

Every instinct told him to say no; that it was just thinly veiled charity. But why? It was a reasonable way out of the obstinate corner he'd painted himself into. Plus, he would get to do the type of work he wanted to. Rubbing his hands together in deep thought, Sean tried to dissect the reasons for his stubborn resistance.

Ten minutes passed, during which time Liz washed the pots and returned to the table with a steaming coffee. Searching his mind for truthful responses, Sean had only come up with one reason to reject Liz's proposal: his fear of failure; the fear that if he let her down, he'd somehow lose her.

‘Okay, but let's do it properly. We'll set up a company; you'll own all of the shares; and in due course, I'll buy half back from you… at a price based on the market value at the time,' he suggested.

‘Done. I'll call Grandpa. He'll be delighted. He's been looking for an opportunity to repay you for saving my uncle's life.' Her paper-white teeth showed through her long smile.

The comment made Sean flinch. ‘You know he owes me nothing. Bill wouldn't have been in that situation if I hadn't put him there in the first place.'

‘Yes, I know that and so does Grandpa, as does everybody else that you've told over the last six months.' Liz rolled her eyes again. ‘But you
did
save his life
and
risked your own in the process. Please, just accept it: you did something very brave; something you should be proud of, not apologise for.'

Seeing the warmth in Liz's smile, Sean decided not to push the point. Secretly, he knew that he hadn't been brave. He'd been on autopilot, acting instinctively, and given time to think about it, he may have acted very differently.

‘When should we start then?' Sean asked, purposefully changing the subject.

‘I could do with a foot massage now, but if you mean work, how about next Monday? It's Praew's first day at school, so we'll have a clear day.'

The mention of Praew brought a glint into Liz's eyes, which made Sean tingle. The fact that Praew was starting school in London and wasn't required to sit with children years her junior, was completely down to Liz's efforts. For six months she'd spent ten hours every day home-schooling the thirteen-year-old Thai girl that they'd rescued during the BW investigation. ‘Is she ready?' he asked.

‘Yes, I think so. She'll be a bit behind in most subjects, but she's smart. She'll catch up.'

‘Amazing after what she's been through.' Sean shook his head.

‘She's not out of the woods yet. The bloody Home Office are still being difficult about her staying here. To adopt her, we need her parents' consent and you know we can't get that.'

Sean's mind wandered back briefly to the dingy street just north of Bangkok, where he'd taken the thirteen-year-old Thai girl away from her booze- and drug-addled family: a father and brother intent on selling her back into prostitution. Then he thought about the squalid London brothel they'd first rescued her from, naked, scared and half-dead. ‘We need to find a way. It's ridiculous to think that the government would rather return her to a life filled with people traffickers and child molesters, than let her stay here with a caring family… just because she isn't British.'

‘I know, but they've only given us until the end of the school year to come up with a solution. Clive's given me the name of a good human rights lawyer, so I hope she can help.'

‘I'm not letting her go back to that life, even if we have to go on the run again,' Sean said, shaking his head.

‘I know.' Liz reached out and took Sean's hand and caressed it gently.

‘I owe her, Liz, she saved my life.'

‘And mine,' Liz said, moving closer to him.

BOOK: sThe Quiet Wart
13.29Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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