John Ringo: Kildar

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John Ringo Kildar
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Kildar: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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Problems, problems, problems! All Mike Harmon ever wanted to be was a SEAL. But after problems in the teams, college student was a decent second best. However, trouble seemed to follow him where he went. Now, after having angered every terrorist on Earth and at least five governments, buying a farm in a third world country was looking pretty good. Of course, nothing was ever simple. With Chechen terrorists knocking on the door and tenant farmers with a truly Byzantine culture, the question was whether he could drag the keldara into the 21st century before the Chechen put them back in the 6th. Kildar answers the question: Where would an international security specialist and former SEAL choose to retire — if he’s going to buy the farm, it should be one with beautiful women and the best beer in the world. Valhalla on Earth complete with Vikings.

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by John Ringo

This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincidental. This book and series has no connection to reality. Any attempt by the reader to replicate any scene in this series it to be taken at the reader’s own risk. For that matter, most of the actions of the main character are illegal under U.S. and international law as well as most of the stricter religions in the world. There is no Valley of the Keldara. Heck, there is no Kildar. And the idea of some Scotts and Vikings getting together to raid the Byzantine Empire is beyond ludicrous. The islands described in a previous book do not exist. Entire regions described in these books do not exist. Any attempt to learn anything from these books is disrecommended by the author, the publisher and the author’s mother who wishes to state that he was a very nice boy and she doesn’t know what went wrong.

Chapter One

Night was falling and the snow getting thicker as the Mercedes skidded into the mountains, its traction control system constantly engaging to keep it on the roughly paved road.

Mike Harmon quietly cursed himself as he considered what to do. He’d made some stupid decisions in his life, more than one of which had been nearly fatal, but dying in the Caucasus Mountains in a blizzard was looking more and more likely. It would be a stupid and ignominious way to go out, all things considered.

Mike was a former SEAL who had, after leaving the teams, planned a quiet life. He’d been a student at the University of Georgia, not particularly happy but managing it, when he’d discovered a terrorist operation going on under his very nose. A series of choices had led him to a secret base in Syria where kidnapped coeds were being tortured and raped on camera to force the American government to withdraw from the Middle East. He’d been instrumental in breaking up the operation, freeing the girls and then holding the position until relieved by a SEAL team, after which airborne rescue forces captured the facility and extracted the girls. In the process he had been so badly shot up he nearly died, but he held his ground right up until passing out from blood loss.

He’d been paid a rather hefty reward for the operation and then wandered down to the Florida Keys to just… chill. With thirty mil in numbered accounts, a college degree suddenly seemed less necessary. Instead of a vacation, while enjoying himself in the Bahamas with a couple of lovely young ladies he’d been asked to capture a nuke that more terrorists were smuggling through that country. Again, he’d succeeded, at least to the extent of preventing the terrorists from getting any further even if the nuke had been detonated in place. And, again, he’d nearly died from the wounds he suffered.

The Keys clearly being too hot for comfort, he’d wandered through Europe until in a whorehouse in Siberia he’d picked up the scent of another nuke. He’d followed it back through Europe, via the white-slave markets in Bosnia, and found it planted at Notre Dame, waiting for a papal mass. When the timer had gotten down to less than a minute and the French EOD unit was sure they’d never stop it in time he’d taken a fifty-fifty chance and sent a code to the bomb that would either temporarily disarm it or detonate it. He’d been lucky: Paris was still there. However, the French government was less than thrilled by his taking the choice in his own hands and declared him, or at least his cover identity, persona non grata.

This left him back in Russia, not sure what to do with himself and with every Islamic terrorist on the face of the earth pissed at this unknown who had broken up three major ops. Russia’s winter was coming on, nothing to look forward to, and he decided to head south. Georgia had always interested him as a country and, just looking for somewhere to lay low, he’d headed that way.

Georgia, called the Switzerland of the Caucasus, was a mountainous country bordered by Russia, Azerbaijan, Turkey and the Black Sea. White people were called “Caucasians” because it was believed by some anthropologists that they had originated in these very mountains. A deep background study of world languages had indicated that the original “Caucasian” proto-language had about six different words for rivers and more than a dozen for mountains, which made sense given what he’d been driving through. The place looked a good bit like Vermont, but with higher mountains. It was renowned for its ski slopes and sudden avalanches.

The religion of the region was mostly Eastern Orthodox. Despite its Christian basis, the country had numerous security problems: Chechen Islamic terrorists that used its mountains as safe haven from their ongoing war with the Russians, a separatist movement in Ossetia, and internal stresses that dated back to the Soviet era. On the other hand, it was unlikely that anyone would notice just another wandering American tourist, much less make a connection between that tourist and the unknown American operative who had stopped three terrorist operations butt cold. And Mike had enjoyed skiing when he was trained in it by the SEALs. So to Georgia he hied himself, pleasantly contemplating a winter of hanging out in ski resorts and picking up ski bunnies.

Instead he’d found himself on this back road, totally lost, low on gas and in the early stages of a blizzard. He had no idea where he’d gone astray and the Fodor’s map was next to useless without some road signs, which were notoriously rare in areas like this.

The Mercedes skidded through another saddle in the apparently endless mountains and, through the blowing snow, he saw a sharp right turn coming up. He braked carefully, following the road through a series of downward S turns until it, miraculously, flattened out. To his left he could see what might be the edges of fields while to his right was a steep slope. He consoled himself that any road led to a town eventually and kept on, driving carefully so he wouldn’t be spun off the road into oblivion.

His lights suddenly illuminated a human figure in the middle of the road and he hit the brakes, hard, skidding to a stop, nearly sideways and only after a hard fight to keep the car from spinning out entirely. He had skidded right and the car was pointed directly at the small figure with a bundle of firewood over… her, by the clothes, back.

Mike put the Mercedes in park and stepped out, waving and smiling in his most friendly manner.

“Excuse me,” he said in Russian. “Do you know where there’s a town?”

The figure was covered in a heavy coat and a scarf and the reply, whatever it was, was whipped away by the blowing wind. The woman was bent nearly double by the bundle of sticks and Mike wanted to help her with it but he was pretty sure she’d take any approach negatively. The area was renowned for girls being stolen into prostitution and sexual slavery and there was no way for Mike to convince her he was just a lost tourist. Among other things, he didn’t speak Georgian. Many of the locals spoke Russian, however, so he tried that again, stepping into the light so she could get a better look at him.

“Lost I am,” Mike said, struggling for the Russian. He’d never studied the language; what he knew had been mostly picked up in brothels and bars. “A town? Petrol?”

The figure let go of the wood for a moment and pointed up the road, yelling something over the wind. It sounded like the word for six in Russian. Maybe six kilometers.

“Six kilometers?” Mike asked. “Thank you.” He paused for a moment and then gestured at the car. “You need ride?” He made a motion for the firewood on her back and putting it in the trunk.

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