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New Releases: 5/8/18

Happy New Release Day! Here’s what went on sale today.

Artificial Condition by Martha Wells

Place holder  of - 60 It has a dark past—one in which a number of humans were killed. A past that caused it to christen itself “Murderbot”. But it has only vague memories of the massacre that spawned that title, and it wants to know more. Teaming up with a Research Transport vessel named ART (you don’t want to know what the “A” stands for), Murderbot heads to the mining facility where it went rogue.

What it discovers will forever change the way it thinks…

Carousel Beach by Orly Konig

Poster Placeholder of - 70 Orly’s Konig’s Carousel Beach is a powerful novel that untangles the secrets of love, heartbreak, and misunderstandings between three generations of women.

A cryptic letter on her grandmother’s grave and a mysterious inscription on a carousel horse leads artist Maya Brice to Hank Hauser, the ninety-year-old carver of the beloved carousel she has been hired to restore in time for its Fourth of July reopening in her Delaware beach town.

Death Doesn’t Bargain by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Placeholder of  -20 The Deadmen are back…

But so are the demons who have broken free of their eternal prison and are bent on mankind’s destruction. The worst of the lot is Vine, determined to claim their lives for taking hers. She will see the world burn…and has the perfect lure to destroy them all. One of their own.

The Evil That Men Do by Robert Gleason

Image Placeholder of - 35 Income inequality and the offshore hoarding of illicit black funds have reached such extremes that the earth’s democracies are in peril. The oligarchs are taking over. The People worldwide, however, are rising up, and they demand that the UN seize and redistribute all that illegal filthy lucre. But it will not be easy. The world’s oligarchs will not go gentle.

Give-a-Damn Jones by Bill Pronzini

Image Place holder  of - 13 Not all the folks who roamed the Old West were cowhands, rustlers, or cardsharps. And they certainly weren’t all heroes.

Give-a-Damn Jones, a free-spirited itinerant typographer, hates his nickname almost as much as the rumors spread about him. He’s a kind soul who keeps finding himself in the wrong place at the wrong time.

NEW IN MANGA

The Bride Was a Boy Story and art by Chii

Devilman: The Classic Collection Vol. 1 Story and art by Go Nagai

New Game! Vol. 2 Story and art on Shoutarou Tokunou

Toradora! (Light Novel) Vol. 1 Story by Yuyuko Takemiya, Art by Yasu

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New Releases: 5/1/18

Happy New Release day! Here’s what went on sale today.

A Dog’s Way Home by W. Bruce Cameron

Placeholder of  -39 Lucas Ray is shocked when an adorable puppy jumps out of an abandoned building and into his arms. Though the apartment he shares with his mother, a disabled veteran, doesn’t allow dogs, Lucas can’t resist taking Bella home.

Bella is inexplicably drawn to Lucas, even if she doesn’t understand the necessity of games like No Barks. As it becomes more difficult to hide her from the neighbors, Lucas begins to sneak Bella into the VA where he works. There, Bella brings joy and comfort where it is needed most.

Ban This Book by Alan Gratz

Image Placeholder of - 60 In Ban This Book by Alan Gratz, a fourth grader fights back when From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg is challenged by a well-meaning parent and taken off the shelves of her school library. Amy Anne is shy and soft-spoken, but don’t mess with her when it comes to her favorite book in the whole world. Amy Anne and her lieutenants wage a battle for the books that will make you laugh and pump your fists as they start a secret banned books locker library, make up ridiculous reasons to ban every single book in the library to make a point, and take a stand against censorship.

Medusa Uploaded by Emily Devenport

Poster Placeholder of - 15 My name is Oichi Angelis, and I am a worm.

A generation starship can hide many secrets. When an Executive clan suspects Oichi of insurgency and discreetly shoves her out an airlock, one of those secrets finds and rescues her. Officially dead, Oichi begins to rebalance power one assassination at a time and uncovers the shocking truth behind the generation starship and the Executive clans.

The Military Science of Star Wars by George Beahm

Image Place holder  of - 22 The first ever in-depth analysis of the tactics and equipment used by the heroes and villains of the Star Wars universe has arrived! Spanning all of the films, this comprehensive book goes in to detail about the various guerrilla tactics of the Rebel Alliance and the awe-inspiring might of the Grand Army of the Republic and Darth Vader’s Empire.

Including detailed examples from Earth’s military history, bestselling author George Beahm illustrates how a merciless empire managed to subdue a galaxy with the application of overwhelming force and technology, and how a ragtag group of rebels could cobble together enough of a punch to topple a seemingly-unbeatable enemy.

 

NEW FROM TOR.COM

Black Helicopters by Caitlin R. Kiernan

Place holder  of - 95 Just as the Signalman stood and faced the void in Agents of Dreamland, so it falls to Ptolema, a chess piece in her agency’s world-spanning game, to unravel what has become tangled and unknowable.

Something strange is happening on the shores of New England. Something stranger still is happening to the world itself, chaos unleashed, rational explanation slipped loose from the moorings of the known.

NEW IN PAPERBACK

And Into the Fire by Robert Gleason

Give Your Heart to the Hawks by Win Blevins

Gone to Dust by Matt Goldman

King Rat by China Mieville

Pawn by Timothy Zahn

Tiassa by Steven Brust

NEW IN MANGA

Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest (Light Novel) Vol. 2 Story by Ryo Shirakome; Art by Takaya-ki

If It’s for My Daughter, I’d Even Defeat a Demon Lord Vol. 1 Story by Chirolu, Art by Hota

Lord Marksman and Vanadis Vol. 7 Story by Tsukasa Kawaguchi; Art by Nobuhiko Yanai

Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid Vol. 6 Story and art by coolkyousinnjya

Nameless Asterism Vol. 2 Story and art by Kina Kobayashi

Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs Vol. 1 

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$2.99 eBook Sale: The Nuclear Terrorist by Robert Gleason

Poster Placeholder of - 27The ebook edition of The Nuclear Terrorist by Robert Gleason is on sale now for only $2.99! This offer will only last for a limited time, so order your copy today.

About The Nuclear Terrorist: The threat of nuclear terrorism and weapons of mass destruction has never been greater, yet, as this devastating exposé makes clear, America’s leaders, including the last two Presidential administrations, have been shockingly lax and often chillingly reckless when it comes to protecting the United States—and the world—from the spreading threat of nuclear proliferation and the very real possibility that terrorists will stage a nuclear bombing or meltdown on American soil . . . with catastrophic results.

Taking no prisoners, Robert Gleason’s The Nuclear Terrorist demonstrates how time and again both the Bush and Obama administrations have placed politics and profiteering over public safety; how the government has failed to effectively guard and regulate a “peaceful” nuclear industry that is both cataclysmically expensive and apocalyptically dangerous; how America’s nuclear power plants remain vulnerable to both physical and cyber attacks; and how our elected leaders and their advisors continue to do business with rogue states, untrustworthy and unstable “allies,” and terrorist backers, while turning a blind eye to the all-but-inevitable consequences of such deals with the devil.

Order Your Copy

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This sale ends April 30th.

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9 Blood-Pumping Thrillers for the Cold Winter Months

Blood pumping, heart racing, mind busy — these fast-paced thrillers will keep you warm (and distracted) during the freezing weather of winter! But we can’t promise you won’t get goosebumps…

A Shattered Circle by Kevin Egan

Image Place holder  of - 96 A Shattered Circle is a legal thriller that’s anything but boring. NYC judge William Lonergan becomes mentally-impaired after an accident. His wife, who doubles as his secretary, preserves Lonergan’s career by covering up his condition — but she can only do it for so long. After Lonergan gets attacked, he and his wife move to their summer house for safety… a big mistake.

American Drifter by Heather Graham and Chad Michael Murray

Image Placeholder of - 45 Young vet River Roulet tries to escape his PTSD by moving to Brazil. He falls in love with journalist Natal who lives with the top drug lord of Rio, Tio Amato. River and Natal try to escape to the interior of Brazil, but Tio is after them. A psychological thriller as much as an action-packed one, American Drifter is an expected delight from bestselling author Heather Graham and famous celeb Chad Michael Murray!

And Into the Fire by Robert Gleason

Poster Placeholder of - 87 Terrifyingly plausible, And Into the Fire follows journalist Jules Meredith and head of the CIA’s Pakistan desk Elena Moreno as they fight the clock to stop ISIS from dropping three Pakistani nukes on U.S. soil. This is no easy feat when the corrupt American president and a Saudi ambassador both want the two women killed. Realistic, character-driven, and fine-tuned, And Into the Fire is sure to get your heart racing!

Book of Judas by Linda Stasi

Placeholder of  -65 The breathtaking sequel to The Sixth Station, Book of Judas is original and a serious must-read. Stasi intertwines religion and history to create a suspenseful, high-stakes thriller. NYC reporter Alessandra Russo must save her kidnapped son by finding the last missing pages of the Book of Judas — pages that contain a secret that could upend Christianity in its entirety.

One Second After by William R. Forstchen

Place holder  of - 48 Based on the premise that a dangerous weapon has the power to destroy the United States in a single moment, One Second After looks at a small town’s response to an electromagnetic pulse attack on America. The country is thrown back to a time of chaos and the darkness of the past (literally – no electricity), forcing retired U.S. Army Colonel John Matherson to mobilize. This novel is so legit that Congress praised it for its realism and called it a book that all Americans should read (!).

Cutting Edge by Ward Larsen

Coast Guard rescue swimmer Trey DeBolt is in a tragic helicopter accident off the coast of Alaska. When he wakes up, he finds himself in Maine, cared for by a lone nurse. The world thinks Trey is dead… and someone wants to keep it that way. When his nurse is assassinated, Trey is forced to run for his life. Along the way, he discovers that he is deeply entrenched in a top-secret government project that has left him with a tremendous super power. Cutting Edge is a suspenseful mystery thriller that will keep you on your toes!

The Fallen by Eric Van Lustbader

Eric Van Lustbader is the bestselling author of the Bourne series, and The Fallen does not disappoint: it’s a pulse-pounding thriller that explores religion, politics, and good and evil. The Testament of Lucifer has been discovered in a remote cave — and has the possibility to unleash chaos and evil all over the world. Can it be stopped? We know the answer, but you’ll have to read to find out!

End Game by David Hagberg

Part of the Kirk McGarvey series, End Game throws you right into the heart of a serial killer case… occurring in the CIA headquarters. McGarvey, former CIA assassin, must find the killer — but first he must understand the motive, which traces back to something buried in the foothills of Iraq: something that could unleash an apocalyptic war in the Middle East. Oozing with action and suspense, you’ll love this thriller.

Say No More by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Boston reporter Jane Ryland reports a hit-and-run, destroying someone’s alibi. Her homicide detective fiancee Jake Brogan is searching for the killer of a famous Hollywood screenwriter. Meanwhile, Jane helps a date-rape victim tell her story, causing her to receive a threatening message: SAY NO MORE. The multiple plot lines seamlessly stream together in this unpredictable, complex, and relevant thriller.

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New Releases: 6/6/17

Happy New Release Day! Here’s what went on sale today.

And Into the Fire by Robert Gleason

And Into the Fire by Robert Gleason After allying itself with Pakistan’s intelligence services and notorious terrorist group, the Tehrik-e-Taliban-Pakistan (TTP), ISIS is ready to achieve its ultimate dream: Forcing the US into a clash of civilizations in the Mideast. The best way to accomplish this mission is to acquire three Pakistani nukes—then set them off in three US cities.

The head of the CIA’s Pakistan desk, Elena Moreno, and an intrepid journalist, Jules Meredith, are on their trail. Unfortunately, a powerful Saudi ambassador is blackmailing a corrupt American president, and now both men will do anything to stop these two women—to the point of having them killed.

Firebrand by A.J. Hartley

Firebrand by A.J. Hartley Once a steeplejack, Anglet Sutonga is used to scaling the heights of Bar-Selehm. Nowadays she assists politician Josiah Willinghouse behind the scenes of Parliament. The latest threat to the city-state: Government plans for a secret weapon are stolen and feared to be sold to the rival nation of Grappoli. The investigation leads right to the doorsteps of Elitus, one of the most exclusive social clubs in the city. In order to catch the thief, Ang must pretend to be a foreign princess and infiltrate Elitus. But Ang is far from royal material, so Willinghouse enlists help from the exacting Madam Nahreem.

Not So Good a Gay Man by Frank M. Robinson

Not So Good a Gay Man by Frank M. Robinson Not So Good a Gay Man is the compelling memoir of author, screenwriter, and activist Frank M. Robinson. This deeply personal autobiography, addressed to a friend in the gay community, explains the life of one gay man over eight decades in America. By turns witty, charming, and poignant, this memoir grants insights into Robinson’s work not just as a journalist and writer, but as a gay man navigating the often perilous social landscape of 20th century life in the United States.

NEW IN PAPERBACK

Nothing Left to Lose by Dan Wells

Nothing Left to Lose by Dan Wells

Hi. My name is John Cleaver, and I hunt monsters. I used to do it alone, and then for a while I did it with a team of government specialists, and then the monsters found us and killed almost everyone, and now I hunt them alone again.

In this thrilling installment in the John Wayne Cleaver series, Dan Wells brings his beloved antihero into a final confrontation with the Withered in a conclusion that is both completely compelling and completely unexpected.

Steeplejack by A.J. Hartley

Poster Placeholder of - 31 Seventeen-year-old Anglet Sutonga lives and works as a steeplejack in Bar-Selehm, a sprawling city known for its great towers, spires, and smokestacks – and even greater social disparities across race and class.

Ang’s world is turned upside-down when her new apprentice Berrit is murdered the same night that the city’s landmark jewel is stolen. Her search for answers behind his death exposes unrest in the streets and powerful enemies.

Takedown: A Small-Town Cop’s Battle Against the Hells Angels and the Nation’s Biggest Drug Gang by Jeff Buck, Jon Land, and Lindsay Preston

Image Placeholder of - 18 Takedown is the story of heroic undercover cop Jeff Buck’s battle with Hells Angels and drug-smugglers on the American border with help from Jon Land and Lindsay Preston.

Twenty years working undercover in the netherworld of drugs had left Jeff Buck burned out and grateful to assume the quiet job of police chief in the small town of Reminderville, Ohio. That is, until a simple domestic assault case turns out to have links to the murder of a drug runner in upstate New York and a syndicate smuggling billions of dollars in drugs across the U.S.-Canada border.

NEW IN MANGA

Captive Hearts of Oz Vol. 2 Story and art by Mamenosuke Fujimaru; Story development by Ryo Maruya

My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness Story and art by Kabi Nagata

Please Tell Me! Galko-chan Vol. 3 Story and art by Kenya Suzuki

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Excerpt: And Into the Fire by Robert Gleason

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With an undeniable authority on the subject of all things nuclear, Robert Gleason brings readers’ worst fears surrounding nuclear terrorism to life in this character-driven, page-turning thriller, And Into the Fire.

After allying itself with Pakistan’s intelligence services and notorious terrorist group, the Tehrik-e-Taliban-Pakistan (TTP), ISIS is ready to achieve its ultimate dream: Forcing the US into a clash of civilizations in the Mideast. The best way to accomplish this mission is to acquire three Pakistani nukes—then set them off in three US cities.

The head of the CIA’s Pakistan desk, Elena Moreno, and an intrepid journalist, Jules Meredith, are on their trail. Unfortunately, a powerful Saudi ambassador is blackmailing a corrupt American president, and now both men will do anything to stop these two women—to the point of having them killed. All the while, a notorious Pakistani terrorist, who twenty years ago was Elena’s college lover, is leading a highly skilled, highly trained terrorist team into the US. They are armed with three Hiroshima-style nukes and are hell-bent on incinerating the three American cities.

Can the two women stop them? The clock is ticking.

And Into the Fire will become available June 6th. Please enjoy this excerpt.

1

If the wretched of earth wish finer apparel, they should work harder.

Prince Shaiq ibn Ishaq

Shaiq ibn Ishaq—Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States—entered the office of Lieutenant General Jari ibn Hamza. As head of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the general was a man of simple tastes, stringent self-abnegation, and dogged devotion to Allah and country. In keeping with the general’s strict Wahhabist upbringing, the walls were devoid of mirrors, artwork, even Islamic icons. Nor in the general’s office would music of any kind ever be heard. Even Jari’s decor reflected this moral severity—nothing but dark wood, black leather, and polished brass.

Moral severity was not a trait Shaiq aspired to, and the general always annoyed him. In fact, self-sacrifice did not even exist in Shaiq’s lexicon. His was a world of sumptuous opulence and unstinting pleasure.

Still, men like Jari had their uses, and Shaiq allowed him a small, patronizing smile.

Coming out from behind his massive mahogany desk, Jari looked at the ambassador and nodded.

Alhamdulillah,” he said simply. Praise be to Allah.

Ashokrulillah,” Shaiq responded quietly, quickly. Thanks to Allah.

Seating Shaiq on a padded leather armchair, the general took the leather couch next to him. One of his assistants immediately brought them a silver coffee service and placed it on the mahogany coffee table between the two men.

A man of great power and even greater wealth, Shaiq was accustomed to servile obsequiousness. The general, on the other hand, had never even felt deference toward him, let alone adulation, and he had never made an attempt to hide his feelings. Among other things, the ambassador was, once again, late—almost forty-five minutes late. Shaiq never arrived at scheduled meetings on time, and Jari viewed such chronic procrastination as a personal insult and an indisputable sign of weakness. The general despised weakness of any kind.

Jari was the antithesis of weak. He dressed simply—combat fatigues, black jump boots, and a black beret. He adhered to an exacting code—part Bedouin, part military, part Wahhabist tradition. His was a way of life that prized the demanding desert virtues of moderation and modesty, of hard work and harsh discipline, of commitment to Allah and rigorous self-denial. It required of him an unwavering willingness to endure danger, sacrifice, and hardship. He lived by that code and presumed one day to die by it.

He wasn’t sure what drove the wealthy Saudi sitting next to him. From Jari’s point of view, his mustache was too impeccably trimmed, his hair too elaborately coiffed. He was too handsome, too smooth, too charming for Jari to ever trust him.

Nor did the general approve of Shaiq’s attire. Most officials favored traditional Arab garb. They covered their heads with the keffiyeh and their bodies with the long, white thawb, or robe. Or in his case a military uniform. Shaiq instead wore a Brioni suit—pure Escorial jet black. Jari recognized it because once an enterprising American reporter named Julie (“Jules”) Meredith had photographed Shaiq wearing the exact same attire, then published a story in The New York Journal-World on his sartorial self-indulgence. The reporter identified each article of clothing and each piece of jewelry. She had then added up the dollar value of Shaiq’s ensemble. The total came to over $871,000. When Jules Meredith told the prince the cost of his couture, then asked if such extravagance was not unseemly in the face of so much poverty in the Islamic world, Shaiq was disdainfully defiant.

“I see myself as an exemplar of excellence, a role model for the masses, a standard of conduct and behavior, which, if they were wise, they would strive to emulate. I therefore do not hold myself to your bourgeois rules and protocols.”

“But should you flaunt your wealth so blatantly when your people live lives of such deprivation?” Jules Meredith asked.

“If the wretched of earth wish finer apparel, they should work harder.”

“Is that how you came to own a limo plated in twenty-four-karat gold? Hard work and rugged individualism?”

“I own three. Why? Is something wrong with that?”

“Isn’t such ostentation in poor taste?”

“Not at all. I deserve no less.”

The ambassador then treated the reporter to his most scintillating smile and gales of derisive laughter.

Still the article had smarted. The ambassador had once told General Jari it had inspired him to buy a plurality interest in The New York Journal-World. At the very least, he could exert some control over “that Meredith bitch,” as he had referred to her.

“If I have my way,” Shaiq had later told the general, “I’ll make her life a living hell.”

Reaching across the table for the coffee service, the suit’s silk sleeve slid up Shaiq’s wrist, and Jari glimpsed the platinum Rolex Oyster Perpetual with emerald-cut diamonds beneath the French cuff. Its gold links glittered with nine-carat diamonds.

How many child-slaves died in Sierra Leone’s bloody mines, harvesting those stones? Jari wondered. How many underage sweatshop laborers did it take to stitch those clothes?

Now Shaiq was pouring coffee out of the sterling silver carafe into a white china cup, to which he added cream and four teaspoons of sugar. Putting it to his mouth, he winced. Unable to imbibe the strong bitter Pakistani brew, he added more cream and sugar.

Jari cringed.

The man drinks his coffee like a . . . girl.

The general finally forced himself to make eye contact. He was sorry he had. The aquiline nose, regal as Caesar’s, was framed by eyes so brilliantly blue Jari wondered who his real father was—or whether the effete Shaiq wore tinted contacts. Jari doubted Shaiq was of Arab extraction. Shaiq’s skin was too pale, soft, and smooth—as unlined as a baby’s. His high, wide cheekbones were a worthy testament to the high-priced cosmetic surgeons who had labored so assiduously to make him look like a Western film star. In Jari’s eyes, Shaiq was a disgrace to Dar al-Islam.

“Cell phones?” Jari asked.

“Thanks for reminding me, old friend,” Shaiq said with a pleasant smile. “I forgot.”

Pulling out his Samsung Galaxy 5000, he was unable to find either the sim card or the battery, let alone remove them.

Jari removed the Samsung from Shaiq’s fumbling hands. He quickly unclamped and unscrewed the inside lid, then extracted the battery and sim card for him.

“As you know,” Jari said, “America’s intelligence and law enforcement agencies can activate these smartphones and convert them to microphones. They’ve been monitoring any conversation they choose, and this is definitely one they would seek to audit.”

The Saudi minister gave him a dazzlingly capped grin and three soft claps. “Bravo, mon général.”

Again, Jari inwardly cringed.

Still Shaiq was indispensable to the general’s plans. The former minister of Saudi intelligence, current ambassador to Washington, and the Saudi king’s envoy to the United States government, Shaiq was the most politically powerful man in the Kingdom, as well as its wealthiest. He was also Pakistan’s most important personal ally and its most loyal fundraiser. In the United States he was just as formidable. He owned half The New York Journal-World—the most widely read and prestigious newspaper on the face of the earth, in print and on the Internet—and large pieces of two major cable news networks. His critics complained he’d bought off and silenced the American news media.

Those were the only reasons Jari tolerated him. He had the cash and the clout Jari needed so critically.

“You want to know what progress we’ve made?” Jari asked, knowing exactly why Shaiq called him in.

“Precisely so.”

“I will not give you the exact details, but Operation Flaming Sword is about to begin.”

Shaiq nodded.

“Our commanders have chosen their teams, and they are in place.”

“And you are absolutely sure this is necessary?”

“Your profits continue to fall, no? The West has come to rely on their own shale oil, on their natural gas deposits, on their wind and solar farms. Without their hydrocarbon imports, your country faces ruin. Since you and your royal family are our preeminent benefactors, we face ruin. They spurn us all with impunity; we cannot allow this to continue.”

“Still, Operation Flaming Sword carries with it unprecedented risks,” Shaiq noted.

“The permanent loss of the West’s petrodollars poses even graver dangers to us both,” the general said. “Do you have any idea what would happen if you continue down this road to ruin, if word of your ultimate insolvency becomes known? Our people will rise up en masse. Your cities will burn, your streets run red with blood. We must make the Americans curse the day they started their renewable energy industries. They think global warming scorches their cities and farmlands?” Jari said, rising angrily in his chair. “We will show them real heat, and they will, once again, turn to us.”

“Just as they did after we flattened their World Trade Centers,” Shaiq said, “and they sent their armies into Iraq.”

“Our people will cringe and cower in terror at the threat of U.S. nukes incinerating Mecca, Medina, and Riyadh,” the general said.

“And we will send the price of oil into the stratosphere,” Shaiq said.

“They will once again view our help in the War on Terror as indispensable,” the general said, “and some to us with their checkbooks open.”

Jari’s desk phone buzzed. He took the call, nodded once, and said, “Good.”

“I gather your new financial installment has arrived,” Shaiq said.

The general smiled and pressed a button. A dark bearded man in a white floor-sweeping thawb and a matching keffiyeh headdress entered. Four bearded men, similarly dressed, followed him. They each dragged behind them eight enormous steamer trunks—made of teak and steel and equipped with rear wheels—by leather handles. The trunks’ edges were trimmed with an eighteen-karat-gold plate, inlaid with diamonds and pearls. Their gold-plated, titanium latches were secured with matching titanium padlocks.

As was typical of Shaiq, he had brought the money to Jari in the most expensive packaging money could buy.

“As requested,” Shaiq said, giving him a polite bow, “you now have $500 million in used, unmarked, pressure-packed, nonsequential $100 bills. No wire transfers or bank withdrawals large enough to attract undue attention.” He placed the keys on the general’s desk. “The quintessence of black money.”

Alhamdulillah.” All praise and thanks to Allah.

Gazing fondly at the trunk, Shaiq smiled. “Do you know the English poet Milton? He has a line: ‘It is better to reign in hell than to serve in heaven.’ Do you think it will come to that? For us?”

“If it does,” the general said, “then inshallah.” Allah’s will.

Looking suddenly at his watch, Shaiq said, “General, as much as I love our little conversations, I must hurry to my plane, I’m expected in New York.”

“The City of . . . Sodom,” Jari said with a faint smile.

“For business,” Shaiq said, “not pleasure. The New York Journal-World is having a revenue-raising ball, and it certainly needs some additional revenue. Since I am their second-largest stockholder, I must attend.”

As Shaiq left, the general leaned back in his desk chair and stretched long and hard. He wondered if the rumors he’d heard about Shaiq were true. Underage girls? Sadomasochistic tristes? Erotic asphyxiation? Who knew? But did the Brioni-suited degenerate really understand what he was getting into? No, the general had not conveyed to him the full violent scope of the nuclear attacks, nor would Shaiq have understood their inevitable apocalyptic consequences. Shaiq saw the nuclear strikes as a series of acts so unimaginably catastrophic that no one would dare counterattack. An all-out nuclear war would be so bad for business it would ultimately be unthinkable, and the West would eventually cave. The nations of earth would demand that the nuclear horror come to an end.

In Jari’s worldview, however, nothing “came to an end”—not until one side or the other was obliterated. The age-old blood-mandate to retaliate totally was sacred and absolute: it could only be satisfied by the utter destruction of the foe—in this case the infidel foe.

Shaiq, Jari believed, could not grasp any of this, nor could he ever fully embrace the coming clash of civilizations. The man’s entire being was sheltered and held together by filthy lucre. Avarice defined him. He was nothing but money, the illusion of power and empty words.

Well, in this case, Jari thought to himself, Shaiq’s talk would soon be translated into action. . . .

Shaiq, you’ll get a bigger bang for your buck than you ever imagined.

For the first time that evening, the general’s smile was sincere.

Copyright © 2017 by Robert Gleason

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Robert Gleason on the reality of his novel, End of Days

Placeholder of  -88Does the killing of Osama Bin Laden make the nuclear terrorist strikes you describe in End of Days more or less likely?

Some of bin Laden’s followers have claimed at various times to possess one or more nuclear weapons.  They have also warned—prior to bin Laden’s killing—that were he killed, they would set them off major western cities.  They also promised to attack and melt down nuclear reactors.

US officials take these claims seriously.  Al Qaeda has tried many times to acquire nuclear bomb-fuel, and many US authorities fear that al Qaeda already has that fuel.  Many experts believe—as we do—that nuclear terrorism is the gravest problem facing the world today.

As End of Days will dramatize, fissile nuclear bomb-fuel is ill-secured, widely available and once the terrorist possesses that bomb-fuel, cobbling together a crude Hiroshima- or Nagasaki-style nuke is surprisingly easy.

A number of highly placed al Qaeda officials have made these threats:

  • Khalid Sheikh Mohammed—a top al-Qaeda leader who helped to plan for the September 11 attacks on the US—confirmed this threat, according to Wikileaked records which detailed detainee interrogations at Guantanamo.  He informed his interrogators that “al Qaeda would unleash a ‘nuclear hellstorm’” on the US.
  • The Wikileaked files indicate that Libyan national Abu al-Libi “has knowledge of al-Qaeda possibly possessing a nuclear bomb” and could pinpoint the site of the weapon allegedly set to be used in the event of bin Laden’s capture or death.
  • Egyptian detainee Sharif al-Masri said that the al-Qaeda members handling the weapon “would be Europeans of Arab or Asian descent.”
  • Yemeni detainee Salman Yehah Kasa Hassan was said to have asserted that an associate of his brother was captured while looking for $500,000 worth of uranium.  The material was allegedly seized by officials in Yemen and “was rumored to have disappeared in a transaction” with bin Laden, one document states.
  • When detained in 2003, Afghan “weapons dealer”,  Mohammad Zahir, reputedly possessed a paper which reported that  “two or three cans of uranium” were waiting to be used “for the production of an ‘atom bomb,'” another says.  After he was taken to the detention site, an informant reportedly told officials that Zahir had collaborated with Pakistani nuclear scientist and proliferator Abdul Qadeer Khan.
  • One document even describes the nuclear weapon’s location, quoting a senior al-Qaeda commander as saying al Qaeda already has a nuclear weapon hidden in Europe.

Does Bin Laden’s death place US nuclear power plants in jeopardy?

US power plants are shockingly vulnerable to 9/11 terrorist attacks and the threats are deadly serious.  In fact, the US has caught al Qaeda training men on US soil for such operations.  An al Qaeda operative, Sharif Moabley worked and trained at five US nuclear power plants, and unfortunately melting down a nuclear power reactor does not require his degree of expertise.  An unskilled terrorist can do it in minutes—after he has taken over the control room.  He does not even have to take over the control room to set the reactor and the spent fuel storage sites ablaze.  As the disaster at Fukushima Dai-ichi taught us, disabling the plant’s cooling system is embarrassingly easy.  Its major pumps, parts, and intake pipes are all on the outside and almost completely unshielded.  A few well-placed bombs would eliminate the water needed to cool the reactor.  Moreover, and once the fuel and spent fuel rods catch fire, extinguishing those fires is horrifically difficult.

Nor are the people plotting and executing these operations are amateurs.  Sharif Mobley was a hardcore al Qaeda killer.  When he was finally captured in Yemen, he provoked a gun-battle in which he killed one person and wounded several others.

Most Americans do not understand how costly such meltdowns are.  A devastated reactor can irradiate and render uninhabitable as much as 27,000 square miles—which equals an area the size of New Jersey, Connecticut and Maryland.  If the nuclear power plant was located near a large urban area, the total cost to taxpayers could be as much as $11 trillion.

US power plants are shockingly vulnerable to terrorist attacks.  In the few mock-terrorist attack-tests, which the plants have run, almost 50% of the time the terrorists take over the control room and have enough time to melt down the reactor.  Even worse, these plants only plan to confront a maximum of three to four lightly-armed terrorists, not the sort of formidable force which attacked the US on 9/11—nineteen professionally-trained killers.  (Source: Nuclear Control Institute, www.nci.org/bc-nt.htm)

Similar mock-terrorist tests are run to determine whether if men disguised as terrorists or as facility employees can infiltrate a US nuclear weapons lab and leave with enough nuclear bomb-fuel to fabricate a Hiroshima- or Nagasaki-style nuclear bomb.   At least 50% of the time the phony terrorists walk out the main gate unaccosted with the bomb-fuel.  If the US cannot secure its own nuclear weapons labs and nuclear power plants, how can we expect Pakistan, India and Russia to secure theirs?  These are nations which live by extortion and bribery.

If al Qaeda’s threats aren’t intimidating enough, the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plants reminds us how deadly, difficult and interminable such meltdowns can be.  We will discuss what Fukushima Daiichi should teach us at some length.

How skilled and sophisticated are these Al Qaeda/Taliban nuclear terrorists?

Recent extremist strikes on several armed forces sites in Pakistan indicate that neither that nation nor the United States is capable of protecting its nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants from a direct attack by these highly trained al Qaeda/Taliban cadres.

Pakistan, which is currently under al Qaeda/Taliban occupation, is the most immediately vulnerable.  Shaun Gregory, director of the Pakistan Security Research Unit at the University of Bradford in the United Kingdom, said in the National Post that up to 70,000 individuals in Pakistan are familiar with or directly involved in the country’s nuclear weapons program.  “Some may be willing to collude in various ways with terrorists,” he wrote in his analysis, “Terrorist Tactics in Pakistan Threaten Nuclear Weapons Safety.”

Gregory said that over the past several years al-Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban have focused on those regions most of the country’s atomic assets reside: its northern and western sectors and the vicinities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi. Pakistani originally chose locations it believed offered superior protection against potential military incursions by neighboring rival India.

Mentored by Pakistani commandos, these al Qaeda/Taliban terrorist units are extraordinarily well-trained, surprisingly sophisticated and incredibly tough.

*One of their targets was a nuclear missile base.  Eight people were killed in a 2007 suicide bombing at a nuclear missile holding site south of the Pakistani capital.

*Suicide bombers in 2008 attacked entry points at Pakistan’s Kamra air base — a suspected nuclear weapons holding site – and a Wah Cantonment facility thought to be involved in putting nuclear weapons together.

*A militant siege last month on the Mehran Naval Station in Karachi showed insider information and considerable expertise. The ten gunmen involved in the strike had been aware of the placement of surveillance cameras at the facility.

*Extremists mounted a comparable assault in 2009 against the Pakistan army’s headquarters in Rawalpindi, possibly the most heavily fortified site in Pakistan.  The organizational brilliance of this amazingly successful assault—which included the penetration of multiple tiers of security; in-depth insider information, including detailed maps; weaponry and diversionary tactics, which allowed them to eventually breach the final tier of defense—should demonstrate to Washington the kind of jeopardy major US cities are in, including New York City with its nearby Indian Point nuclear power plant and San Francisco with its Sandia nuclear weapons lab.

Extremists in Pakistan have demonstrated their ability to breach multiple protective measures and mislead security forces by disguising themselves as military personnel, driving in correctly tagged automobiles and falsifying personal documents.  In addition, militants have proven to be familiar with the knowledge and procedures of Pakistan’s armed forces, and they have conducted thorough reconnaissance at attack locations weeks ahead of a strike.

“Almost certainly (the terrorists) learned their tactics from the SSG (the Pakistan Army’s elite commandos, the Special Service Group—the Pakistani equivalent of Seal Team Six), which had trained earlier generations of Pakistani/Kashmiri militants in similar tactics for operations against India,” Gregory said.

“Terrorist groups have now shown themselves capable of penetrating even the most securely defended of Pakistan’s military bases and of holding space within those bases for many hours, even against the elite SSG, more than enough time with the right equipment and sufficient numbers to carry out terrorist acts with enormous political or destructive payoff,” Gregory said (Peter Goodspeed, National Post, June 14).

Experts fear it is only a matter of time before these elaborately trained cadres visit the US and take on America’s nuclear facilities.

What does Fukushima Daiichi teach us about nuclear terrorism?

It demonstrates how easy it is to melt down a nuclear power plant.  All you need to do is knock out the cooling system which is located outdoors and extremely vulnerable to primitive bombs.

Is nuclear terrorism feasible and realistic?

Once terrorists obtain the nuclear bomb-fuel, crude terrorist nukes are shockingly easy to cobble together.  In fact, if a person simply drops a 100-pound grapefruit-size chunk of HEU onto another chunk from a height of six-feet, he will produce 50% of the Hiroshima yield.  If he places a smaller chunk in a short piece of cannon barrel—and the US has thousands of old cannon barrels left over from the Civil War—and blasts one chunk into the other with Extra High Explosive, he might well produce the Hiroshima yield.

Nor is obtaining the bomb-fuel that hard.  Russia’s nuclear bomb-fuel storage sites have been notoriously ill-secured.  What’s not as well known is that US storage sites aren’t much better protected.  Experts in the US occasionally run tests in which people sneak into US nuclear weapons labs and attempted to steal nuclear bomb-fuel.  Fifty percent of the time they succeed—and this is after the testers first warn the weapons lab’s security officers when and where the operation will be conducted.  In one such test the mock-terrorists trundled the nuclear bomb-fuel out of Los Alamos—birth place of the Atom Bomb—in a Home Depot Garden Cart in front of God and everyone.  No one stopped them.  I dramatize how this can be done in End of Days first chapter.

If the US can’t secure its nuclear bomb-fuel, how can Russia, Pakistan and India—nations which live by the baksheesh?

President Obama says that a single nuked US city is his worst nightmare. Is his fear realistic?

A single improvised nuclear detonation is not America’s worst nightmare.  Resourceful nuclear terrorists would find no shortage of poorly protected nuclear explosive.  Hundreds of tons are located in hundreds of ill-secured nuclear sites.  Truly enterprising terrorists could stockpile enough nuclear bomb-fuel to arm half a dozen panel trucks with crude nukes, each of which could be deployed and detonated in a major American city.  The nuking of Wall Street would devastate the entire global financial system.

Is a multi-city nuclear attack on america its worst-case scenario?

Not at all.  Herman Kahn wrote over fifty years ago that truly skilled terrorists—in league with “a small vengeful power”—could unleash a global nuclear apocalypse.  He wrote that if the nuclear bomb-fuel and delivery systems proliferated sufficiently, these terrorists could nuke the great nuclear powers and then frame other nuclear powers for the crime.  They could create the illusion that the great powers were nuking one another.  In retaliation, the great powers would nuke each other deliberately.  A relatively small terrorist state could thereby foment global nuclear Armageddon.  Kahn’s worst-case nuclear scenario is essentially the plot of End of Days.

Are you afraid that you are giving would-be nuclear terrorists ideas?

Bin Laden had been arguing for years that he could force the US out of the Mideast through nuclear attacks.  Michael Scheuer, who ran the CIA’s bin Laden unit, has said these nuclear attacks on the US are bin Laden’s driving, animating dream.  Al Qaeda has even threatened to nuke the Yellowstone supervolcanic caldera, whose crater is 45 miles by 35 miles.  That blast would blanket most of the US with ash, detritus and debris.  I dramatize the nuking of the Yellowstone caldera in End of Days.

Is nuclear power a nuclear proliferation threat?

Nuclear power reactors are nuclear bomb-fuel factories.  A 1977 Oak Ridge study proved that using the equipment from an old dairy or winery, low-tech terrorists could construct a crude nuclear bomb-fuel reprocessor in six months.  In another month they could reprocess enough plutonium to set off the Nagasaki bomb.  A 1998 Los Alamos study indicated that it was not always necessary to even reprocess the nuclear material to fuel a one-kiloton nuclear blast.

Nuclear power is the Trojan Horse inside of which the nuclear proliferators and their illegitimate offspring, the nuclear terrorists, hide.

The Obama administration is selling both nuclear power reactors and nuclear reprocessors to India and is planning to sell them to Saudi Arabia.  Fifteen of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers were notoriously Saudis and Saudi Arabia is al Qaeda’s homeland.  Obama is selling them de facto nuclear bomb-fuel factories.

Does Japan’s nuclear power debacle teach us anything?

It reminds us again how quickly and easily disaster can strike a nuclear power plant.  Moreover, such disasters are not infrequent.  They hit a nuclear power plant every ten years on average.  Even worse for the US, its nuclear power plants are more vulnerable to catastrophic meltdowns than those of any other nation in the world.  The tsunami threat isn’t as severe as Japan’s Indonesia’s, but the US is vulnerable to a far more likely and far more destructive menace: nuclear terrorism.

Indonesia, which is situated in the heart of “the Pacific Ring of Fire”, is also trying to build nuclear power plants—all of which demonstrates how self-destructive nations are regarding nuclear power.

Why are the US nuclear power plans so vulnerable to terrorist attacks and not, for instance, Sweden’s?  

Nobody hates the Swedes.  In an age in which pretty near any nation that wants nuclear weapons can get them, strategically, there is a lot of be said for not being hated.  Sticking to one’s own business and not meddling in the affairs of other nations—even when we cloak our actions in lofty rhetoric—can have a deterrent effect.  Nobody wants to hurt you, and as I dramatize in END OF DAYS, nuclear blowback can be a bitch.

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