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Science Fiction (General)
Action & Adventure
action & adventure
By Alex Shaw
E-Book (available as PDF files)
About the Author
Former SAS trooper Aidan Snow returns in the thrilling follow up to the Kindle bestseller ‘Hetman’. Now an MI6 operative, Snow must locate and rescue an old SAS colleague before an Al-Qaeda splinter cell can carry out acts of unprecedented horror. But who is covertly funding these new attacks and why? Abduction Veteran SAS trooper, Paddy Fox has lost his job, his wife and his temper. Whilst bitterly job hunting, Fox witnesses a car crash and finds himself rescuing a kidnapped Saudi Royal. Persuaded by MI6 to accept a job as security adviser in Saudi Arabia, Fox travels to Riyadh. Assassination In Kyiv, a director of the Belorussian KGB is gunned down whilst trying to pass shocking intelligence to his counterpart in the Ukrainian SBU. Intelligence, which if verified, sets out plans to commit international acts of terror. Al-Qaeda In Saudi Arabia, an entire British Trade mission is taken hostage by a new, highly trained, group aligned to Al-Qaeda. But who is covertly funding this new insurgency and why? An International Conspiracy Former SAS Trooper turned MI6 operative, Aidan Snow is caught in a maelstrom involving East, West and Middle East which endangers the world’s supply of oil.
PROLOGUE. Harley Street, London, England Aidan Snow sat on the examination table wearing only a pair of black boxer shorts. Dr Durrani poked Snow’s left leg with a gloved index finger, his large bright eyes focusing intently. “Hm. The incision seems to have healed nicely; the reduction in scar tissue is what we would have hoped for.” Turning his attention to the right leg, Durrani continued. “I’m not as happy with this one though, but then you did leave it rather a long time before coming to see me.” Snow nodded. It had not been his idea to visit the doctor, but a direct command from Jack Patchem, his handler at SIS. Patchem’s view was that no undercover operative could ‘blend in’ if he was riddled with scars. Snow saw no reason to complain. “Now the shoulder. Hm. If you would just raise your arm for me, a-ha that will do fine. Any pain at all? Any discomfort?” “No.” “None?” “None.” Snow lied, he got the occasional twinge from all his old injuries, especially those caused by bullets, but letting the SIS contracted doctor know that would not help with his operational status. Snow was fit, above averagely so even by army standards, but by the ripe old age of thirty six had had one leg crushed in a car crash and the other punctured with a round from an AK74. This was in addition to a recent bullet to the right shoulder. Ten years separated the first and second set of injuries, but they had been caused by the same ruthless former Spetsnaz member. The first injury had led to Snow prematurely leaving the SAS and the second set had caused him to be recruited by Her Majesty’s Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) or as it was more widely but inaccurately known ‘MI6’. After rehabilitation of his injuries and a refresher course in the Welsh Mountains, competing against the newest SAS Selection hopefuls, he had been passed fit for service. “Medical over. You can get dressed now.” Durrani walked to the sink, removed his gloves and unnecessarily washed his hands. He straightened his blood red, bow tie. “How’s Jack these days?” The question took Snow by surprise. “I’m sorry, Jack who?” “Good, good just checking - ‘Loose lips sink ships’ - as they used to say.” “They also make for very bad Saxophonists.” Snow replied as he quickly dressed. “What? Oh, very good. Mind if I use that one?” “Not at all.” “Thank you.” Durrani smiled and opened the door. “Well all being ‘well’, I’ll see you this time next year. Good bye.” Snow knew better than to shake the doctor’s hand. For a plastic surgeon, Durrani had a strange phobia of ‘personal contact’. Snow exited Durrani’s examination room and couldn’t help but glance at the pretty receptionist, dressed in her pure white uniform; he could make out the line of a black bra beneath. She smiled at him, as he self-consciously looked away and left the building. Harley Street was busy with lunchtime traffic, business people and a few lost tourists being given directions by a pair of Metropolitan Police Officers. Snow headed north towards Regent’s Park and the nearest tube station, he had a meeting with Patchem at their Vauxhall Cross headquarters. Snow cared little for London, but living there was a necessity. London was too noisy and too scruffy, especially compared to some other capital cities. But not Paris. Snow remembered his friend Arnaud, half French and always defending the homeland of his mother. Arnaud had argued that Paris was the ‘capital of Europe’ with its grand architecture. Snow had retorted that the ‘grand architecture’ did not make up for the pavements littered with dog shit and the stench of cheap cigarettes. He still blamed himself for what had happened. The events of eighteen months before, in Ukraine, had hit him harder than he had thought possible. Snow’s mental scars too had been ‘cosmetically repaired’. Involuntarily he touched his shoulder and felt for the bullet wound, now almost invisible but still aching. Snow had tried to save the life of a friend and failed. A noise from behind broke his train of thought. A scream. Snow turned. A figure was standing outside Durrani’s building, Middle Eastern or Asian. A voice inside his head tried to tell him something. Snow retraced his steps back towards the doctor’s surgery, his eyes on the entrance. Another scream. Snow broke into a jog. Two men left the building in a hurry; one had his face obscured by bandages. They joined the first, who had now moved from the building, and was holding open the door to a waiting Ford Mondeo. There was an object in the hand of the last man to exit the surgery, a handgun. The gunman looked directly at Snow, who was still running towards him, and pulled the trigger. There was a ‘thud’ as a suppressed 9mm round left the weapon and raced towards the SIS operative. Snow instinctively dived left, down the basement steps of the nearest building, crashing into several bins. A car door slammed. Winded, Snow raised his head. The Mondeo was now ‘four up’ and pulling away south into traffic. Snow sprinted to the surgery, straining his eyes to see the registration number of the Ford. He had a decision to make, follow the X-Rays or check the building. Snow took the steps up, two at a time. The door to the communal hall was open, as was that to the surgery. He hoped beyond hope that he would not find what he did. The receptionist lay sprawled back on her chair, her dress had been ripped open to expose her breasts. There was a neat bullet hole in her forehead and an explosion of blood on the cream wall behind. Snow swore, fury rising within. He kicked open the doctor’s door and found that Durrani had also been executed. Lying at an acute angle across his desk, he had been double tapped in the chest then shot once through the skull for good measure. In a flash, Snow was back out on the street, mobile phone to his ear as he waited for the emergency service to connect him. There was a loud honking from further up the street. The Mondeo was still there, caught up at the traffic lights at New Cavendish Street. Snow had to reach it. He ran faster than before, switching his phone to video capture mode. Snow heard raised voices from behind, he turned. The two Metropolitan Police Officers. One saw the open door and went up to investigate, the other followed Snow. “Excuse me sir….Sir Excuse me.” The officer shouted. Snow continued to intercept the car, the Policeman quickened his pace, one hand on helmet in what looked like a scene from the ‘keystone cops’. Snow drew level with the Mondeo and looked in. Four men, Middle Eastern. The one with the bandages was now removing them, another held a handgun. As Snow aimed his camera phone at them, a hand grabbed Snow’s shoulder. Snow pivoted and flung his unknown attacker to the ground, his phone dangling by its carry cord. The Police officer hit the pavement with force, his helmet spinning off into the traffic. “Security Services.” Was all Snow managed to get out, before a round zipped past his face. He fell to the pavement, the lights changed and the Mondeo moved off. Snow tried to get to his feet but was forcefully pushed flat by the second officer, who had now caught up. “Secret Intelligent Service. You’re stopping the wrong person.” The second officer attempted to place his knee on Snow’s chest. “Stay still!” “For the love of god…” Snow twisted and using his right leg swept the officer’s legs out from under him. Snow sprang to his feet. The first officer, now standing, had extended his folding truncheon and was holding it in his right hand. “Get down…down!” “Get out of the bloody way!” Snow lurched forward and ducked inside the officer’s advancing arm, he kicked the man in the back of the knee before ripping the truncheon from his hand and hurling it into the street. Snow sprinted to the end of the road and at the junction reacquired the Mondeo, fifty meters ahead on Wigmore Street, stopped this time by a taxi.
Praise for Alex Shaw ‘He won’t be stopped now. The book will become popular among Kyiv’s expats; some of them will even recognize themselves.’ Kyiv Post on ‘Hetman’. ‘A strong aspect of HETMAN is Shaw’s knowledge of Ukraine & Special Forces operations. The character of Bull felt real on the page, you don't get better than that.’ 2010 ABNA Review ‘With the world in financial turmoil and the Middle East aflame, fans of this genre will find COLD BLACK timely and entertaining.’ 2011 ABNA Review About the Author ALEX SHAW B.A. (Hons), P.G.C.E. was head of Drama at Pechersk School International, Kyiv, Ukraine, in the late 1990's before leaving to start his own Kyiv based 'consultancy' dealing specifically with the markets of the former USSR. He was subsequently head hunted for a division of Siemens where he was tasked with business development in the former USSR, the Middle East and Africa. Hetman was Alex's first novel and took twelve years to complete. Published in 2009 it gained critical acclaim in ABNA 2010 and later became a #1 UK Kindle bestseller. Cold Black was published a year later. It followed the success of Hetman, gaining critical acclaim in ABNA 2011 and rose to #6 in the Kindle UK bestseller list. Both books have also now become top 10 Kindle Bestsellers in the USA and Germany. The third Aidan Snow thriller will be released later this year. When not writing Alex works as a freelance consultant (clients include the UN), dividing his time between his two homes in Kyiv, Ukraine and West Sussex, England. He is married to his beautiful wife Galia and has two fantastic sons, Alexander and Jonathan. Alex welcomes feedback and comments from readers and can be contacted via his website www.alexwshaw.com you can also follow Alex on twitter: @alexshawhetman
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