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Authors: Ted Bell

Tags: #Fiction, #Thrillers, #General, #Espionage, #Action & Adventure

Warriors

BOOK: Warriors
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E
XTRAORDINARY
P
RAISE
FOR
T
ED
B
ELL
AND THE
A
LEX
H
AWKE
N
OVELS

“Hawke is . . . strong, shrewd, and savvy, with an aplomb not seen since James Bond. In other words, Bond, eat your heart out. . . . There’s a new spy in town.”

—NPR

“Alex Hawke is the new James Bond. Ted Bell is the new Clive Cussler.”

—James Patterson

“A secret agent who takes you into the danger zone with a ballsy wit that had me hooked.”

—Vince Flynn

“A hero to rival Bond by an author to rival Cussler.”

—The Bookseller
(U.K.)

“Ted Bell puts a capital A in adventure.”

—Madison County Herald

“Bell pulls out all the stops with terrific action scenes, fiendish murders, diabolical villains, dramatic rescues, and all the cool weaponry the reader could possibly hope for.”

—Publishers Weekly

“Bell knows how to build a plot that moves at breakneck speed.”

—Richmond Times-Dispatch

D
EDICATION

For Lucinda Watson. Sometimes it takes a lifetime to find the love of your life.

E
PIGRAPH

You may not be interested in war.

But war is interested in you.

LEON TROTSKY
, 1919

C
ONTENTS

Extraordinary Praise for Ted Bell and the Alex Hawke Novels

Dedication

Epigraph

Author’s Note

Prologue

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

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Chapter 44

Chapter 45

Chapter 46

Chapter 47

Chapter 48

Chapter 49

Chapter 50

Chapter 51

Chapter 52

Chapter 53

Chapter 54

Chapter 55

Chapter 56

Chapter 57

Chapter 58

Chapter 59

Chapter 60

Chapter 61

Chapter 62

Chapter 63

Chapter 64

Chapter 65

Chapter 66

Chapter 67

Chapter 68

Chapter 69

Chapter 70

Chapter 71

Chapter 72

Chapter 73

Epilogue

Acknowledgments

About the Author

Also By Ted Bell

Credits

Copyright

About the Publisher

A
UTHOR

S
N
OTE

The research for this book is primarily the happy result of my election as a visiting scholar and writer in residence at Cambridge University for the 2011 to 2012 term. At the university’s prestigious Department of Political Science and International Studies (POLIS), I was fortunate enough to engage with perhaps the most knowledgeable group of scholars, historians, intelligence officers, assistants to heads of state, and high-ranking military officers from both the U.K. and the U.S. As it happened, the primary focus during my tenure was an in-depth study of China’s political and military roles on the modern global stage. We also kept a wary eye on North Korea. I am especially indebted to the following gentlemen at Cambridge for their support and guidance: Professor Stefan Halper, Life Fellow, Magdalene College; Professor J.B.L. Mayall, Emeritus Professor of International Relations; and, finally, Sir Richard Dearlove, KCMG, OBE, Master of Pembroke College, and former chief of British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6).

P
ROLOGUE

L
ord Alexander Hawke rose with the dawn.

A shadowy gloom pervaded the gilded coffers of his high-ceilinged bedchamber. He lifted his arms high above his head and stretched mightily, extending his long naked body full-length, feeling his muscles and tendons come alive, one by one. Then he wiggled his toes twice for luck and sat straight up beneath the dark blue needlepoint canopy tented above his four bedposts.

His head ached; his lips were dry, and he tried to swallow. Difficult. His mouth felt, perhaps, like that of some ancient Gila monster standing in the middle of the Mojave Desert on a flat rock in the noonday sun. That tequila nightcap, perhaps? Ah, yes, that was it. A dram too far.

Fully awake now, he needed light. There was a discreet control pad on the wall above his bedside table and he reached over to press a pearly button.

A soft whir was followed by the rustle of heavy silk. As the brocade draperies on the many tall French windows drew apart, a soft rosy light began to bloom within the room. Beyond his windows, he saw the red-gold sun perched on the dark rim of the earth. He turned his face toward the sunlight and smiled.

It was going to be another beautiful day.

Beyond his windows lay his walled gardens. Most had been designed by the famous eighteenth-century landscape architect Lancelot Brown. He was a man known to history as “Capability” Brown because the talented and clever Brown slyly told all his potential clients that only their particular estates had the “great capability” to realize his genius.

Beyond the gardens, a tangle of meadows circumscribed by dry stone walls. Then endless forests, temporarily clothed in a light haze of spring green. The narrow lane winding down to the village featured a precarious haystack on a horse-drawn cart, a lone vicar on his wobbly bicycle, and an ancient crone walking stooped beneath a heavy burden. From chimneys of little stone cottages scattered hither and yon, tendrils of grey smoke rose into the pale orange sky.

He had awoken to this chilly morning in early April to watch a grey ground fog swirl up under the eaves and curl around the endless gables and chimneys of the rambling seventeenth-century manor house.

Hawkesmoor, that ancient pile was called. It had been home to his family for centuries. It was situated amid vast parklands in the gently rolling hills of the Cotswolds, a leisurely two hours’ drive north of London on the M40 motorway.

Hawke slid out of bed and into the faded threadbare Levi’s that lay puddled on the floor where he’d left them at midnight. He pulled an old Royal Navy T-shirt over his head and slipped his bare feet into turquoise-beaded Indian moccasins. They were a particular favorite. He’d bought them during a hunting and fishing expedition with his friends Ambrose Congreve and his fiancée, Lady Diana Mars, to a rustic camp near Flathead Lake, in Montana.

On this particular spring morning, one day before his departure for far more hostile territory, the South China Sea, of all places, Hawke was full of keen anticipation. Four hundred and fifty very powerful horses that even now were stamping their hooves, waiting for him on the apron of bricks in the stable courtyards.

“The Snake,” as his new steed was called, was a 1963 Shelby AC Cobra. It was an original, set up for racing by Carroll Shelby himself. With a highly modified 427-cubic-inch engine putting out 450 horsepower, it was capable of achieving speeds nearing 180 miles per hour. It was painted in the famous Cobra racing livery, dark blue with two wide white stripes down the centerline.

It had been purchased by Hawke’s man at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona, and flown to England, arriving by flatbed lorry late the previous afternoon. His primary mechanic, Ian Burns, a fine Irishman with hair and whiskers so blond they were white, gave him a knowing grin. Known forever as “Young Ian,” the lad had been going over the Cobra all night, adjusting the timing, checking the plugs, points, and carbs, making sure all was in readiness for Hawke’s maiden voyage into the surrounding countryside.

“Quite the brute y’ve got yerself here now, m’lord,” Young Ian said as Hawke approached the car, taking long strides across the mossy brick of the courtyard. “One can see why no one could lay a finger on Dan Gurney and the old ‘Snake’ at Le Mans back in ’64.”

“You put a few miles on her this morning, did you, Young Ian?” Hawke asked, smiling and running his hands over the sleek flanks of the beast. “I thought I heard a throaty roar wafting up through the woods earlier.”

“Aye, I did indeed.”

“And?”

“Still trembling with excitement, m’lord. Can barely handle me socket wrench, sir.”

Hawke laughed and gazed at his prize. It was truly a magnificent piece of machinery. A fine addition to his growing but highly selective collection, stored behind the long line of stable doors. A long row that featured, among others, vintage Ferraris, Jags, and Aston-Martins, a black 1956 Thunderbird convertible once owned by Ian Fleming, a spanking-new white McClaren 50, and his cherished daily driver, a steel-grey 1954 Bentley Continental he fondly called “the Locomotive.”

“I did, sir. Topped off the petrol tank with avgas, which I highly recommend you use in the car, sir, aviation fuel having much higher octane, obviously. And runs cleaner, sir. The Weber carbs needed a bit of finesse, a couple of belts and hoses needed replacing, but otherwise it’s in perfect running order, sir, just as advertised.”

“Let’s find out, shall we?” Hawke said, grinning from ear to ear.

Hawke climbed behind the wood-rimmed wheel, adjusted the close-fitting racing seat for his six-foot-plus frame, and strapped himself in, using the bright red heavy-duty Simpson racing harness. Then he switched on the ignition.

His glacial blue eyes widened at the instant roar, deafening, really, in the narrow confines of the stone-walled courtyard.

“Bloody hell, Ian!” Hawke grinned, shouting over the thundering engine. “I do believe I feel the stirrings of one falling deeply and passionately in love!”

BOOK: Warriors
11.2Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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