Steve Abbott: Devil's Gambit

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Steve Abbott Devil's Gambit
  • Название:
    Devil's Gambit
  • Автор:
  • Издательство:
    Sabot Productions Inc.
  • Жанр:
    Триллер / на английском языке
  • Год:
    2021
  • Язык:
    Английский
  • ISBN:
    978-1-51146-628-8
  • Рейтинг книги:
    3 / 5
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Devil's Gambit: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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NEST – Nuclear Emergency Search Team. Specialists activated in the event of a nuclear incident. Three nuclear warheads complete with their delivery systems have been stolen from a Russian missile base. It’s up to Captain Gayle Ecevit USAF and her joint Russian team to find and secure the missing devices, with the help of two members of the SAS. All the signs point towards North Korea but to what end? Were they taken to be reverse engineered to bolster their struggling weapons program or are they to be used for a darker purpose, to start the Korean War all over again. The answers might lie with a recent North Korean Defector sitting in a CIA safe house but maybe he’s a plant, put forward by North Korean Intelligence to muddy the waters. MI6 has it’s eyes on a shadowy South African arms dealer who specializes in smuggling nuclear materials. Gayle and her team must sift through all the possibilities and come to the right answer. A new Korean War hangs in the balance.

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Steve Abbott

DEVIL’S GAMBIT

Edited by Isaac Sweeney

For Darleen

PYONGYANG, DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF NORTH KOREA

The clank and rumble of tanks and mobile missile carriers faded from the People’s Square, a dull rumble of future dark promise. The faint stink of diesel hung in the frigid air in a thin, grey kerosene fog, which coated the back of the throat. The “Dear Leader” was dead. His flag-draped coffin set on the roof of a Chinese copy of a Russian hearse through a mottled sea of uniforms.

Kim Jong Un, his son and now the Supreme Leader of North Korea, stared out across the square, his face impassive, impenetrable. The wails and screams of grief from below washed over the podium, an undulating bombardment of a nation’s mourning. The destiny of the country was now in his hands. He may not have been the oldest of his father’s sons, but he was the one in his father’s favor. He had weathered the bloodlettings and the internal fights between his siblings. As said in war, “The only battle you must win is the last one.”

The people craved a certain style of leadership. A bold hand that stayed the course, no matter the consequence. They would cheer every new five-year plan, which would promise to give them a better life than they already endured, but when you are forced to boil weeds for sustenance, a grain of rice or a kernel of wheat is a bounty. What sort of leader would he be if he did not give his people what they deserved for the hardships they endured? Still, this was a delicate time. Loyalties had to be strengthened, control shored up and possible future threats disappeared along with their families and relatives. There would be no coup d’état.

History was written in blood and there was no greatness achieved without sacrifice. Korea would be united again, but under Kim Jong Un’s flag. The endeavor would give his trusted commanders a monumental task to keep them busy. There would be no idle hands to plot and scheme his overthrow. His plan would earn him an epithet in history worthy of Alexander the Great or Napoleon. The West and its meddling lackeys would once again taste the bitter ashes of defeat on Korean soil.

He turned to the ministers and generals who stood behind him on the reviewing platform. “Enough of this,” he said before he stepped away. His bodyguards cut a swath through the inner circle. “Follow me. There is much to discuss.”

Фото

The bright banners and flags were a sharp contrast to the drab dress of the people. They were now the officially confirmed subjects of Kim Jong Un, Supreme Leader of all that you see and all that you do not. From just below the reviewing stand, Special Assistant Kwan Te Sung shuffled his feet in the December cold. Stout and middle-aged, he was unremarkable in every way except his eyes, which missed nothing. The Devil, as they say, is in the details. He had noticed a great many bicycles in the procession of the Army. Fuel was getting scarce even for them. This funeral, this outpouring of grief at the death of such a tyrant, was a grand show for the world. The same had happened when Stalin died. Not even forty years later, they ripped any reminder of the man from their country. Just how many of the tear streaked faces would not live through this winter, frozen or starved to death because of this useless squandering of fuel to lay their Supreme Leader to rest? Even in death, Kim Il Sung managed to kill.

Growing shortages of goods and critical services took their toll. When people could not get basic staples, unrest was sure to follow, even here. A small uprising of farmers in the North just the month before had been halted with brutal expediency. Another blood-soaked example of what would happen if you tested the will of the party.

Kwan Te Sung stood and shivered. Who was left to blame? The world had gone mad. North Korea was the only remaining bulwark of Communism. China was nothing more than a cheap pool of labor for the West. Russia was, for all intents and purposes, ruled by a Czar once again. They might have called him a President, but nobody with half a brain was fooled. And Cuba? They weren’t even worth mentioning. The problem was not the failure of Communist brethren; it was the Americans. A nation bloated with self-righteousness, always interfering in others’ matters and always claiming they had the right to dictate the way the world should be. Meanwhile, they sucked the world dry, ignoring their corpulence as it grew and grew.

Sung, from his official vantage point in the Directorate of Supply, had watched the vital shipments of fuel oil dry up almost overnight. Russia wanted hard currency for their liquid gold. North Korea could no longer purchase the twenty three million barrels of oil they needed every day to keep their military, fourth largest in the world, running. Even the weapons tap had been turned off. No more free arms to continue the struggle. Military equipment was another commodity to be sold and exploited. With the Russians no longer an ally, the North had turned back to China. Still angered by the Dear Leader’s long-time pro-Moscow stance, China only allowed a trickle of oil to flow from their refineries into the country.

North Korea had been made to do with one twelfth of what they needed, what had once been taken for granted. They had redirected the vital resource where they could best be used, but sporadic brownouts and complete shut off of electricity to homes had become commonplace. Heavy industry had been severely curtailed as coal cars sat immobile in their stockyards because there was no diesel to run the locomotives. No coal delivered to power plants and foundries affected steel production; this affected production of new tanks and other essential military supplies, including missile equipment. There was no fuel for maneuvers and training, and morale suffered as a result. The keen edge of his country’s most important sword was becoming duller right before his eyes.

Sung was no ideologue. He did what was best to further his career. He had no family and no friends. He was a person with only two goals: to keep himself alive and to prosper, no matter how thin the ground grew under his feet. Kim Jong Un prior to his Father’s death had taken notice. Sung had no idea he was being watched until one of Kim Jong Un’s bodyguards had approached him with a letter requesting a meeting. Sung had to read the letter then burn it in front of the bodyguard. The letter had been short and vague; it hinted at Sung coming up with a viable plan to annex the South. As he was no general, Sung imagined that Kim Jong Un sought a deeper vision than storming across the Demilitarized Zone, the UN imposed buffer between the two Koreas in human wave after human wave. When he had finally met the now Supreme Leader two years before this frigid day, he had been right in his assessment. He had been able to hatch a plan. It was daring, bold and near impossible. But if it worked, it would succeed where others had failed, and the risk made it more than worth it. Of course, it would mean the destruction of many careers. His immediate superior would have to be one of the first to go.

Фото

The inner circle shuffled into the briefing room behind their Supreme Leader and his phalanx of bodyguards. The walls of the room were richly appointed in polished Rosewood and Mahogany panels. Scenes of cranes and other wildlife, all rendered in painstaking detail in ebony and ivory, lined the deep red timbre. The panels graced all four walls and the room’s ceiling. A large, deep green marble-topped conference table sat in its middle, chairs already pulled back to receive the inner circle. The only thing out of place was a large cloth-covered board on wheels parked against the wall opposite from the entrance.

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