America has been split in two: An army of cultish mercenaries from East Asia has seized the West Coast, conquering territory as far east as the Rocky Mountains—all in the name of Hashi Pushi, a Japanese despot revered as a god. The army may be scattered, but it receives support from two submarines that patrol the Pacific, each armed with a nuclear warhead. Any attack, they have promised, will result in the annihilation of two American cities—a price the battle-scarred populace is not prepared to pay. Onboard the carrier Enterprise, Major Hawk Hunter prepares to strike. His target is not the submarines, but Tokyo itself. In a modern-day Doolittle raid, he and his fellow pilots will attack this warrior cult from the top down, bringing the Wingman face to face with one of America’s most dangerous enemies. War of the Sun is the tenth book of the Wingman series, which also includes Wingman and The Circle War.
About the Author
Mack Maloney is the author of numerous fiction series, including Wingman, ChopperOps, Starhawk, and Pirate Hunters, as well as UFOs in Wartime – What They Didn’t Want You to Know. A native Bostonian, Maloney received a bachelor of science degree in journalism at Suffolk University and a master of arts degree in film at Emerson College. He is the host of a national radio show, Mack Maloney’s Military X-Files.
Read an Excerpt
War of the Sun
By Mack Maloney
OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIACopyright © 1992 Mack Maloney
All rights reserved.
Nauset Heights, Cape Cod
The two Norse soldiers thought they were dreaming.
One moment they'd been dozing on guard duty; the next, they were faced with a vision from Hell itself.
It was the heat that woke them first. A searing, hot breath, at first mistaken for just another part of a lusty dream, suddenly turned absolutely scorching. Then the noise came. A hundred claps of thunder, a thousand bombs exploding, a million screams of fear—they could not equal the unearthly howling these men heard this night, their last.
The heat and the noise were joined by the brightest light either man had ever seen, so intense, it seared their eyeballs.
They both screamed. Surely this was the Raven of Death itself hovering over them. Watching them. Now diving down at them!
They ran, but with legs of weaker men. They stumbled, one into the other, and wound up in a heap on the ground. There was a bright flash. A tongue of flame sprouted from this giant metal bird, leveling part of the nearby forest like a fiery scythe.
"Thorgils!" one screamed hysterically. "Where are you now?"
The winged creature of fire and heat and noise roared again and then slammed down into the ground, obliterating the guards' campfire and kicking up a storm of sand, dust, and flaming ashes.
It was black, with a metal body, and a large teardrop of glass that served as its eye. There were flashing red beacons on its tail and under its nose. Weapons of unspeakable terror hung from its wings.
Paralyzed with fear, the guards watched open-mouthed as the eye of the creature popped open. A man was emerging! In the light and the smoke and the exhaust, he looked like a creature, too. His armored skin was black, and he wore a strange helmet with lightning bolts painted in gold on its sides. In one hand he held a firearm; in the other, a long, gleaming sword. He turned and pointed the sword directly at them.
Trembling, crying, their teeth chattering so much their gums bled, the Norse guards drew their own swords. But not to do battle. To do so now would be against their religion. They had been bested by an enemy, and damn quickly at that. To die now on his sword would condemn their souls for eternity. Their only choice was to deliver the killing blow themselves.
With screams that equaled that of the banshee itself, the men plunged their long, razor-sharp swords into one another's stomachs, waiting momentarily, and then applying the essential gut-ripping twist.
They were both dead within a second.
As they fell for the last time, one man dropped his field canteen, causing a thick, gooey substance to run from its mouth. The man stepped out of the airplane and onto its wing and then jumped to the scorched ground. He walked over the pair of still-quivering bodies, picked up the canteen, and took a tiny dot of the thick syrup with the tip of his finger.
He put the finger to his tongue. "Myx ..." he whispered.
The dozen Norse soldiers charged with guarding the small farmhouse on the bluff had scattered a long time ago, frightened away by noise and flame they'd spotted on the beach below.
The house itself was somewhat battered, but the roof had held through the stormy weather, and the inside had done the same. The hayfield was overgrown, as were the vegetable garden and the strawberry vine. The barn and the small storage shed looked a little worse for wear.
The boot on the front door was not so powerful as to do a lot of damage. It would have to be fixed later, after all.
A thin red beam of laser light searched the darkened rooms. All the furniture was gone—remnants of the chairs and couches could be seen in the fireplace. Even some of the floorboards had been ripped up, used no doubt as kindling. The walls were covered with crude drawings. Battle scenes. Ravens. Sea serpents. Some were drawn in chalk, others in charcoal or with burnt sticks. Some of the pictures had strange writing beside them, others, simply one or two letters. In one corner, someone had apparently started to write the English word "victory," but never applied the last letter. Another wall was stained with what at first looked like blood, but on closer examination, turned out to be some kind of lager.
The pilot walked up the stairs without making a sound. At the end of the narrow hall was a closed door with a flickering light behind it. He pointed his firearm at the ceiling and squeezed off one round. The noise of the gun blast seemed to shake the whole house. The light in the room went off.
He walked down the hallway, not slow, not fast, but at an even gait. He heard the sounds of a window lock being hastily opened, and then the creak of a window being opened itself. He fired another bullet into the ceiling. The noises on the other side of the door became more frantic. Pushing. Shoving. A sharp, hushed argument. High-pitched whispered voices. A touch of panic.
He fired a third bullet and then kicked the door in, this time with such force it splintered on impact.
The only illumination in the room now was candlelight. There were probably a dozen of them in all, and half had blown out when the door broke in. The others were wavering in the breeze from the open window.
Two figures in black were halfway out the window, but were now frozen at the sight of the man in the opaque uniform and helmet with his gun raised at their throats. The breeze turned to a gust, blowing back the veils of these figures. They were women, one young, one old. Both unarmed.
The pilot raised the gun, but could not pull the trigger.
"Go!" he yelled at them. He was not in the business of shooting women.
They departed, leaving through the window as if they were witches, their feet never hitting the ground.
He turned and saw her on the bed. She looked peaceful, in a white gown, her hair braided and tied. Her head rested on a silk pillow. On the table beside her were a large plastic container and two glass beer mugs, their rims sticky with myx.
He was frozen on the spot. He hadn't seen her in so long—not since that horrible night in the spring when the world turned upside down. It was now early fall.
He lay down his gun and knelt beside her. He put his finger to her lips and felt a slight breath. They were also sticky with myx.
He'd become all too familiar with the effects of this mind-altering, coma-inducing hallucinogen. A little meant an orgasmic experience unrivaled by any drug ever known. A lot meant a coma so close to death, a person's metabolic rate was reduced to near-hibernation.
But the drug was not without its quirks. One of them involved the precise method for raising someone from its death glow.
He took a deep breath and removed the glove from his right hand. Then, with a firm pinch, he tweaked the woman's nose.
Her eyes opened instantly.
"Dominique ..." Hunter breathed, stroking her hair. "I'm back, honey."
She smiled as if she was awaking from nothing more than a stolen nap.
"Hawk ..." she said, putting her hand lightly to his face, "I was dreaming about you."CHAPTER 2
One month later
A thick fog covered Vancouver Bay.
The harbor was nearly deserted. A Free Canadian minesweeper was performing routine patrol further out on the Strait of Georgia. Occasionally a helicopter gunship would sweep over the shipyard nestled into one corner of the recently-dredged bay. But other than that, there was no visible activity in the damp, fog-enshrouded bay. Yet in the gloom, hidden by both mist and shadow, was the enormous silhouette of an aircraft carrier.
There were no airplanes on her deck, no crew in evidence, not a light on her anywhere. To the eye, the huge hulk of a ship looked unoccupied, abandoned, forgotten.
But in this case, looks were very deceiving.
There were exactly one thousand, four hundred and ninety-two men aboard her, all of them well-trained, highly-professional citizen soldiers. All of them were also volunteers.
There were twelve airplanes inside its huge mid-deck hangar, a place big enough to hold eighty planes or more. At this moment, about five hundred men were working on or near these airplanes, several of which were in various stages of disassembly. The men—all of them air service technicians—were concentrating on the airplanes' bomb delivery systems—or the lack of them, in many cases.
Though the airplanes were all jet-powered, not one of them was a true bomber. The majority were actually jet fighters—high-tech dog fighters and interceptors—not designed to carry an ordnance load very well. Yet the mission they were being prepared for called for aircraft to carry bombs, and lots of them. So most of the airplanes had to be adapted to do so—and fast.
It was just past midnight when the trio of open-bay tractor-trailer trucks pulled up to the pier next to the darkened aircraft carrier. Each truck carried a large wooden crate, tied to its trailer and covered with black tarps. The trucks were met by a contingent of Free Canadian Naval Security Forces, all of them dressed in civilian clothes and waiting in the shadows on the dock. With little fanfare or conversation, these soldiers helped the truck drivers unlash the tarps covering the rear of each truck, and then, with the help of a small portable crane, began unloading the crates themselves, placing them on the moving cargo ramp that led up to the carrier's deck.
Within ninety minutes, the unloaded trucks had departed and the crates were sitting on the deck of the carrier. Two men were checking the list of serial numbers on the crates against a manifest one man had attached to his clipboard.
"Looks like they're all here, Captain," the man with the clipboard said, crossing out the last serial number. "Should I get the loading crew to bring them down to the hold?"
The other man shifted uneasily for a moment. He'd yet to get used to being called "Captain" again.
"Yes, let's get them below," he said finally. "And make sure there's no unnecessary noise or lights."
The man with the clipboard departed, leaving Stan Yastrewski all alone on the vast flight deck.
Yastrewski—"Yaz" to his friends—took in a deep breath of damp, foggy air and let it out slowly. He considered himself a simple man, yet in the past few years, he'd led anything but a simple life. He'd seen nightmarish combat. He'd been kidnapped by Norsemen. He'd been imprisoned by Nazis. He'd been kept as a sex slave by a woman who believed she'd one day be the undisputed "Queen of America."
And now, in the latest twist in his life, he was captain of the huge aircraft carrier.
It was the USS Enterprise, CVN-65, or least, it used to be. Its recent history had been as strange as Yaz's. On the day the Big War ended, the ship was reported sailing in the Indian Ocean, launching air strikes on positions deep within Kyrgyzstan. Its crew vanished, and the vessel was apparently seized by black marketeers. It was refurbished to a degree, and eventually sold to the Fourth Reich, the so-called "Super-Nazis" who had briefly conquered the eastern section of the American continent. Indeed, a sneak attack launched from the carrier by the Fourth Reich against the battered United American Armed Forces paved the way for the Super-Nazi invasion of the eastern seaboard. Not two months before, the Fourth Reich had surrendered in the titanic battle of Fuhrerstadt, more recently known as Football City and before that St. Louis, and their surviving armies had either been placed in POW camps or sent packing back to Europe.
It was shortly after the Nazi invasion had begun that the Enterprise was found drifting in the Caribbean, its fascist crew dead, victims of the vicious one-man campaign carried out by Hawk Hunter, the man known to many as the Wingman. Once the fighting against the Super-Nazis ended, the carrier was refurbished once again, and secretly sent to Vancouver to prepare for a very critical mission.
Yaz had overseen this voyage. Both a former commander in the U.S. Navy and a member of the informal group of military advisers that made up the leadership of the United American Armed Forces, he seemed like a natural choice. However, his U.S. Navy duty was on submarines, not aircraft carriers—could there be any two ships more different? Plus, while he'd been given no indication that his mission to get the carrier to Vancouver in one piece was the extent of his involvement in the overall operation, he never dreamed they wanted him to be its captain for the upcoming secret mission.
But here he was, skipper of a supercarrier, on orders from General David Jones, the top military man in United America himself.
But it was an unusual command, to say the least. He had but one-fifth the normal complement of crew. And until this night, only twelve airplanes.
But now that the crates had arrived, at least that had changed. Inside, they contained the components of a very special aircraft.
He considered this now as he looked out across the barren flight deck and into the foggy gloom of the bay.
"Thirteen airplanes," he whispered glumly. "My lucky number."CHAPTER 3
Twenty-four hours later
The airplane swooped low over Vancouver Bay, banked to the left, and came around again.
There was a sudden thunderous noise, almost like a mechanical wind, as the plane stopped in mid-air. It hovered there for a moment, and then descended slowly, its pilot deftly bringing the VTOL airplane in for a textbook dead-of-night landing.
No sooner was the Harrier down on the deserted deck of the Enterprise when Hunter had his safety harnesses undone. He popped the canopy and crawled out of the cockpit over to the wing and then down to the deck of the carrier itself.
He took a long, silent, sober look around. For the first time since he'd single-handedly defeated its Super-Nazi crew, he was back aboard the USS Enterprise.
It was close to midnight. The message calling him to Vancouver had reached him at his Cape Cod farm two days before. It had come from General Jones, and it "invited" Hunter to a top-secret meeting to discuss a matter "of extreme importance."
The request had served to effectively end what had been a fulfilling few weeks spent nursing Dominique back to health and getting his small coastal hay farm back into shape. Dominique was making a fine recovery, but his farm was a mess. Fixing the doors and the three bullet holes in the roof had been easy—the hard part was trying to undo the many months of neglect and abuse that the Norse soldiers had wreaked on the place.
But he loved it. With each day worked, he felt he was regaining a very important part of himself. Once again, the place called "Skyfire" had become safe haven from the wars and turmoil that had raged over the globe. More important, it was a place for him and Dominique to be together. They had been forced apart so often over the years that Hunter wanted nothing more than to be with her. And knowing that he could be called away any moment made their time together more precious.
So when it came, the message from Jones served to douse his brief idyllic respite like a bucket of ice water.
But he was a soldier. And obviously something big was up. After yet another painful good-bye with Dominique, Hunter was on his way in a few short hours.
Leaving her in the care of a friend who ran the highly-touted New Boston Militia, Hunter flew the Harrier up to Montreal, where he began a series of refueling stops which had him over Vancouver inside of six hours.
Now another adventure was about to begin.
He turned to see the slightly diminutive figure of Yaz walking across the deck toward him.
"Permission to come aboard, Captain?" Hunter asked his old friend, complete with a deadpan salute.
Yaz waved off the gesture. "You're not making this any easier, Hawk," he told him. "I'm the last guy that should have his hand on this rudder."
Hunter yanked his helmet off. "Look at it this way, Yazbo," he said. "When your old sub friends hear about it, it'll drive them nuts."
"Yeah," Yaz replied, in mock agreement, "nuts from laughter."
The conversation quickly turned serious as they walked across the flight deck and toward the carrier's massive superstructure, known as the Island.
"I thought we weren't supposed to meet for another month," Hunter asked Yaz.
Yaz just shook his head. "There been some new developments," he replied soberly. "This is a real emergency, I'm afraid."
They walked up to the carrier's nerve center, a place called the CIC, for Combat Information Center. The last time Hunter had seen it, the room was shot-up and very nearly destroyed. Now it was up and operating at almost full capacity.
Excerpted from Wingman by Mack Maloney. Copyright © 1992 Mack Maloney. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book had a lot of action, and everytime I started to read it, I couln't stop.