It is the second prong in the Axis of Evil. North Korea boasts one of the largest armies in the world, a developing nuclear weapons program, and a leadership that’s always teetering on the brink of war. With tensions rising and an international conflict all but inevitable, a small group of men prepare for a surgical preemptive strike. It will be difficult. It will be bloody. It is exactly what the Marines in Force 5 Recon are trained to do.
About the Author
P. W. Storm is the pseudonym for Peter Telep, an experienced and acclaimed novelist whose books have been translated into German, French, Spanish, and Japanese.
Read an Excerpt
Force 5 Recon: Deployment: North Korea
MARINE FORCES KOREA (MARFOR-K) HEADQUARTERS
2104 HOURS LOCAL TIME
"Third Platoon, per your warning order you will make a HALO insertion into quadrant H-Nine-Seven, which is approximately sixty kilometers northeast of Sinuiju. Intell reports three low-blow mobile radar systems operating along the Chinese border. Those radars are associated with SA-3 missiles. You will locate, photograph, then destroy those radar systems, thereby blinding the enemy's missiles. If you fail, the helos carrying our invasion force will be painted and --"
Lieutenant Colonel Richard Wilmot never finished his sentence. Instead, the fifty-year-old man with hard eyes and skin like rawhide hurled through the air amid a shower of glass, sheetrock, shrapnel, and pieces of the tactical map on which he had drawn three arrows.
In that same instant, Sergeant Mac Rainey, who had been sitting in the back row with the rest of his Force Recon team, got blown out of his chair and slammed into the briefing room's rear wall, the wind knocked out of him. He flinched against the debris raining down and gagged as smoke poured in, carrying a metallic stench. Someone, maybe Houston or Vance, swore as other Marines closer to the front shrieked in agony.
With the explosion's thunder still booming in his ears, Rainey sat up and looked around through tearing eyes. A smoldering, jagged hole like the maw of a shark lay in the wall ahead, and through it the illuminated windows of the administrative building glistened in the rain.
"You all right?" asked Doc, his own eyes tearing, his uniform caked in dust. No explosion could stop Glenroy "Doc" Leblanc. The triple B: big, bald, black guy (though you'd best avoid that nickname) would treat your wounds even if his uniform were on fire. Kind of Navy corpsman Doc was. HERO. All caps.
"I'm okay, I think," Rainey answered, then glanced sidelong at the lieutenant colonel, now visible through the clearing smoke. The man lay supine, his head a pound of uncooked chopped meat. "Oh, God. Wilmot."
While Doc crawled among the toppled chairs toward the lieutenant colonel, Rainey coughed and waved a hand across his face, searching for the rest of his team. Corporal Jimmy Vance was already on his feet, MEU pistol drawn, sniper's instincts ushered in on a wave of adrenaline. He picked his way toward the shattered wall and window, hoping to lock his green eyes on a fleeing suspect. Lance Corporal Bradley Houston, the brown-haired dreamer and once the cockiest rookie Rainey had ever met, fell in just behind Vance. Both were alive and well, and now Rainey could breathe easy. Those guys were much more than his best shooter and radio man; they were his friends, his brothers. Sure, they were half his age, didn't understand the world the way he understood it, and sometimes Houston's bad jokes and Vance's obsession with bass fishing really annoyed him. But they were good men unaffected by an age of feminization and political correctness. They were warriors. They had the mean gene. And they had Rainey's utmost respect.
Okay, so three of his four operators were accounted for. But where was Team Dogma's newest member, E-5 Sergeant Anthony Bruno?
Faces flashed by. Marines picked themselves out of the rubble. Rainey's gaze darted from soldier to soldier as MPs charged into the room, while cries of "Corps-man! Corpsman!" echoed with chilling urgency.
A hand came down hard on Rainey's shoulder, seized his shirt, and dragged him to his feet.
"Sitting on your hands again? Just like you did in Afghanistan?" Bruno breathed like a lung-cancer patient in Rainey's ear. "You going to get them out of here? Or do I have to give the order?"
Rainey ripped out of the sergeant's grip, spun, faced the man, then seized Bruno's collar and shoved the former muscle head from North Jersey against the wall. Bruno's droopy eyes widened, and his cheeks, forever shadowed by a beard that looked more like gray sand-paper than hair, balled up as he smiled.
"You're fucking with me now, Bruno? Are you insane?" Rainey shoved the man away. "Team Dogma? Fall back outside!"
"Sergeant?" Doc called, looking up from Lieutenant Colonel Wilmot's inert form.
Rainey raised his chin.
And Doc shook his head.
Despite the chaos assaulting all of Rainey's senses, he went numb. Jesus Christ. The lieutenant had been murdered before his eyes. Wilmot, the man who had personally requested Third Platoon's presence, the man who had orchestrated a highly unusual transfer of personnel from Fifth Force so that he could employ the best of the best in the hottest zone on the planet, had, for his efforts, been repaid with a bomb.
Was Rainey surprised? Not necessarily. There had been eleven terrorist bombings in Seoul since Combined Forces Command had threatened to begin air strikes on North Korean targets, only a week prior. The goal was to defeat the enemy in detail. Every gun and tank emplacement along the Demilitarized Zone, every ammunitions and supply depot, bridge and crossroad, resupply and reinforcement route, airfield and naval facility, commando base and headquarters, as well as communications nodes, munitions factories, electric power girds, and government buildings were on the target lists.
Was Rainey outraged? Yes. Outraged over the breach in security. MARFORK Headquarters should be the safest place in South Korea. What had the bastards done? Tunneled their way directly to Seoul? The CIA and the boys in Intell would take on that headache.
Rainey waved Vance, Houston, Doc, and Bruno through the door. They hustled down the hallway and out the nearest exit, into the humid air and a relentless rain that had been falling for the past two days, a prelude to typhoon season ...Force 5 Recon: Deployment: North Korea. Copyright © by P. Storm. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.