Kindle Author Sponsor: Henry Brown

Book Title:

Hell and Gone


Henry Brown

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Book Reviews:

"Hell and Gone is an exciting action and adventure novel, highly recommended."
—Midwest Book Review

"...An action novel that hits you like a brick through a plate glass window."
—Jack Badelaire, Post Modern Pulps

"Hell and Gone by Henry Brown is a top-notch military thriller. The author takes great care to create characters that are believable and unique... Great writing creates scenes so well crafted that I felt like I was in a strange land in the middle of the action. ...I am very pleased to recommend this book to anyone that enjoys thrillers."

"Hell and Gone is a military thriller that delivers the goods on the action, has vivid, realistic characters who interact with great dialogue, and presents some food for thought. If enough people chew on it, maybe the all too plausible scenario presented here will remain fiction, assuming it hasn't happened already."
—The New Podler Review of Books

"Hell and Gone is a tightly plotted, action packed, military adventure that will keep you riveted to the pages."
—Susan Coventry, author of The Queen's Daughter

"I like military thrillers, and this one kept me glued to the pages. The ending even left the door open for a sequel. If there is one, I'll definitely be picking it up!"
—MSgt Rich Harris, USAF (retired)

"This book grabbed me in from the very start, with characters that compelled and details that informed without burdening the story. The novel is well-paced, eminently believable, and draws you into a climax that does not disappoint."
—Vanitha Sankaran, author of Watermark

"...I can distinctly picture most of the men as individuals. The book kept me engaged throughout - it's nice to see a thriller that emphasizes teamwork, rather than one macho hero(ine) saving everybody's day."
—Sudarshan Bharadwaj, author of Two Worlds

"...Smooth reading, memorable events, and unforgettable characterization... Dwight Cavarra is colorful and gritty.  Highly principled and tough. Bassam Amin is an example of what can happen when a person is treated as a tool designed to self-destruct. Ehud Siyr is mysterious, mythical, larger than life. ...I am awed (by the) command of the technology and its details. The fighting scenes were galloping, but clear, with attention to each player.  Masterful handling. ...An unforgettable read."
—Gloria Piper, author of Where the Sky Ends

"As a fan of military fiction I have to admit that the genre is full of garbage... That's why Hell and Gone was so refreshing with its dirty dozen cast of real characters and real personalities.

"On the surface the plot appears to be standard-issue for the genre—Islamic whack jobs with a suitcase nuke; but characters carry the story and the plot turns out to be anything but what we expect from 'techno-thrillers' or 'men's adventure.' As a former soldier I was also impressed with the author's attention to detail and general accuracy in regards to weapons and tactics.

"...The novel had a awesome climax with a number of different parties vying for control over the ultimate prize. Even the ending was cast against type...still I hope to see a sequel sometime in the future."
—Jack Murphy, Relexive Fire

Book Description:

A black market Russian nuke. Religious extremists who must conquer at any cost. An alienated loner with a deathwish. An Israeli city. These ingedients comprise a recipe that terrifies US intelligence. How can suicidal killer Bassam Amin be stopped before the Israelis take action...without assistance from the US military; without fracturing the Coalition Against Terror; and without triggering global jihad?

Enter retired commando Dwight "Rocco" Cavarra and a handful of other alpha-male SpecOps veterans who have never worked together. Within days of assembling, they must plow through an African civil war; infiltrate a heavily defended desert fortress; wrestle the WMD away from Amin and his fellow sociopaths while surrounded and outnumbered by desperate proportions; then waltz out of harm's way undetected by local warlords or the genocidal government. No problem--hooyah! But how should Rocco's Retreads handle the hard-charging Mossad agents Israel dropped in the hornets' nest to help the mission along...or was it to frag Cavarra and take over the operation themselves?

Only a maniac would volunteer for such an ate-up mission. Only a monster would use an A-bomb for terror. Both maniacs and monsters are on a collision course which could blow the world to hell and gone.

Book Trailer:

Book Excerpt from Hell and Gone:


(At the quick-time.)
Around the block, she pushed the baby carriage
She pushed it in the springtime, in the merry month of May.
And if you ask her why she pushed the carriage
She pushed it for her Navy SEAL, far, far away.

Cavarra smiled to himself when the smell of tarmac, still blazing-hot from the day, filled his nostrils once again. He carried his stuffed sea bag across the field to the waiting aircraft. It was a small turboprop utility plane, normally used to shuttle flag officers hither and yon for tea parties or golf matches crucial to national security.

A haggard sailor pushed the steps up to the cargo door and opened it for him. Cavarra entered, stowed his bag, sat down and buckled up.

He knew Melissa would have pitched a fit if he'd asked her to pick up the kids, especially after making her drop them off. So he'd tucked Jasmine in, went over the shotgun, emergency phone numbers and so forth with Justin, and told him to call his mother the next day to come pick them up. He checked the fridge and cupboards to ensure there was plenty of food, and left some cash just in case. He'd deal with their mother when he got back.

If he got back.

Cavarra was tired, but decided to wait until the plane was at altitude and his ears had quit popping before racking out. Instead, while the air crew went through the pre-flight, he looked over the files Hendricks had given him.

Sudan was the largest nation in Africa. Mountain ranges lined the eastern and western borders, with mostly featureless plains in between. In the north, savannah dried out into desert approaching the Egyptian border. Rain fell nine months out of the average year in the tropical south, which boasted the world's largest swamp: the As Sudd. This year, however, El Nino` had brought droughts upon the mostly agricultural region.

Sudan's most profitable natural resource was oil.

The population was predominantly black in the south, Arabic in the north. Islam was the state religion and Arabic the official language, but many blacks were Christians who spoke English, while others spoke tribal languages or practiced tribal religions.

Sudan gained independence from Britain and Egypt in 1956, but suffered civil wars repeatedly up to the present. The twenty-year conflict still raging now pitted Islam against all non-Moslems.

Since the mid-1990s, Saddam Hussein had been hiding stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons in the Sudan, with Khartoum's unofficial blessing. The Sudanese Army sometimes used these weapons against the blacks in the South.

Egypt disputed ownership of the Hala'ib Triangle with Sudan. By letting Khaled Ali  run his camp inside this demilitarized zone, the Sudanese could plead ignorance if any Western nation made an issue of it.

Sudan hosted an estimated thirty terrorist training camps like Ali's. Whether Khartoum knew about the hot potato or not, Cavarra wasn't told; but its placement in the Hala'ib Triangle suggested complicity.

Typical Washington pussyfooting around meant the most effective assets wouldn't be employed: DEVGRU/SEAL Team Six, Delta Force... or a Ranger Battalion if they really wanted to stomp it flat. The dossiers Cavarra held represented what CIA brass considered the next best thing: Ten has-beens and two never-weres.

His second time through the photos, Cavarra realized every Swinging Richard in this unit was either black or could pass for an Arab. Good: they shouldn't draw undue attention by appearance alone. Two were Navy Special Warfare vets. One was a former SeaBee--the Navy's version of a combat engineer. Three were ex-Special Forces, which was fortunate--Green Berets were highly cross-trained in combat fieldcraft and fluent in at least one foreign language. Two were Force Recon vets, which was also welcome news--marines were trained as infantry before moving on to their primary specialty; and as reconnaissance scouts, their stealth and navigational skills should be finely honed. Two were decorated snipers. Two were mercenaries.

Come to think of it, it could be argued that all of them were mercenaries, now.

One has-been was none other than Zeke the Greek: Chief Petty Officer Ezekiel Pappadakis from the Special Boat Squadrons and the only man of the twelve Cavarra knew. They'd eaten some of the same sand at Grenada, Panama and the Gulf. Zeke was intelligent, dependable and admired by peers and subordinates alike.

Pablo Fava-Vargas was a Puerto Rican ex-SEAL from Team Two. Cavarra had never met him--Teams Two, Four and Six worked out of Virginia, while odd-number Teams were headquartered on the West Coast. Fava-Vargas became a SEAL between Blue Spoon and Desert Storm, when Cavarra took over Team One and finally returned to California. Fava-Vargas was highly decorated for his work in the Gulf, but left the Navy during the Clinton years. He had children, and was currently working on a masters degree in psychology.

Two of the three marines resumed civilian life ahead of schedule by way of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Both had a history of alcohol abuse and one had a violent streak displayed under inappropriate circumstances one time too many. This didn't bother Cavarra too much--the best men to have in combat were often the worst to have in peacetime.

His team included a bona fide Shawnee brave, complete with authentic Native American name: Tommy Scarred Wolf. Cavarra pictured a wolf with scars festooning its head and body--from a ferocious fight with another wolf, probably--prowling outside a river camp where the Green Beret's great-grandfather was born. Cavarra had wanted to hold off naming his own son until he'd had a chance to observe some personality traits: Indian-style. But Melissa and everyone else considered this notion ridiculous. It simply wasn't done in civilized society.

The guys with cool names usually turned out to be wimps, morons or queers, anyway.

Cavarra spent extra time examining the dossier of the African mercenary. His nationality was listed as Sudanese, but he'd worked all over Africa, it seemed, including Angola, Sierra Leone, Chad, Rwanda, Somalia and Sudan. Those countries had seen some heavy action, so his experience could be extensive. The widespread demand for that experience might indicate that this merc was something special and not a "never-was" after all.

The American merc had a lot of baggage stamps, too, but mostly from "warm" spots with low-intensity conflicts. A Lebanese mother had passed down fluency in Arabic, plus the brown eyes and dark skin to qualify for this crew.

A third mercenary would lead a small Sudanese rebel force in a conventional attack on the terrorist camp. To Cavarra that meant an under-trained, undisciplined, poorly-motivated gaggle led by some wannabe with questionable integrity and motives.

Just before the Sudanese mob hit the target, Cavarra and his freshly-slapped-together squad were to infiltrate, take the dock, blow the boats and prevent anyone's escape with the hot potato. They'd be surrounded immediately and if the rebel attack didn't commence on time, every hostile in the camp would be on top of them. If the attack did come on time, the rebels might very well break and run upon encountering disciplined fire. But even assuming the assault was successful and the rebels pushed the hostiles into the sea, Cavarra's unit would be caught between hammer and anvil. If cornered terrorists didn't wipe them out, friendly fire might.

Only a maniac would volunteer to lead such an ate-up operation.

Or a has-been Special Operator.

Some part of Cavarra had always wanted a mission like this, though he'd prefer to undertake it with men he'd trained with for years.

Hendricks had been satisfied after Cavarra endured some vaccinations and a quick physical exam at a discreet location with an Agency physician. Then it was Cavarra's turn to get answers.

He got the personal compensation arrangements out of the way first. Then insurance coverage--he insisted Melissa and the kids be adequately taken care of should he never make it back. He made sure the men under him had been properly inoculated. He probed Hendricks about medivac and health contingencies. He hammered out the duration of the assignment, and transportation--both in-country and back to the States. He demanded, and received, a blank check for weapons, ammo, maps, equipment and food. He haggled over some finer details, then signed some papers and drove to his waiting plane.

Cavarra rejected the plan, as conceived by the CIA, from the very beginning. The bottom line was to prevent the terrorists from escaping with the nuke. To accomplish that without assuming his men to be expendable was the challenge.

The aircraft engines whined to life. The plane taxied, got clearance and lifted into the night sky. When they reached altitude, Cavarra leaned his seat back and closed his eyes.

Thousands of miles of land and ocean passed by underneath him.

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