WINGMAN THE CIRCLE WAR BY MACK MALONEY

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Copyright 1987.

After the defeat of the Family, Hunter and his buddies settle down with the Pacific American Air Corp(PAAC) which consists of the west coast of the former United States. Yet stuff is happening. Hunter discovers the Soviets sneaking 50 Yak-38 VTOL fighters into the country. There are reports of mysterious goings on all over the country. Strange lights over the great lakes. Cavalry troops attacking from the Badlands. It is soon discovered that the Soviets have infiltrated thousands of surface to air missiles(SAMs) into the Badlands that center part of the country destroyed by a sneak nuclear attack. They also have Mongol cavalry to guard them. While this is going on Victor Robotov a terrorist and possible Soviet agent has organized the eastern part of the country into The Circle. With thousands of recruits they march to link up with the Soviets in the Badlands. Then they plan to conquer the Western Democracies. The only hope is for Hawk Hunter to retrieve five black boxes that will power a flight of special B-1 bombers. Along the way in New York he manages to also find a Stealth fighter and rescue his girlfriend Dominique. Then it is a great battle between the forces of good and evil.

The second book in the series has Hunter once again save the good guys almost single handedly from the evil Soviets and their puppets. Another fun adventure as we get to explore the kooky world of the New Order. In this one Hunter goes from Hawaii to the Grand Canyon. He manages to use a jet pack to fly up to the World Trade Center(it exists in this time line) and rescue his girlfriend and get the necessary components to save the day. Yes the logic is a bit sketchy and the plot is downright goofy but it is fun goofy. Maloney writes a very fast paced and interesting story with larger then life characters in a larger than life world. You get a good feeling to see the bad guys get put in their place. Definitely another winner in the series. On a side note I remember a computer game called Harpoon. A very realistic naval warfare simulation at the time I loved playing. I remember that the Yak-38 was a real piece of shit in the game. Had a very limited range and weapons. Somehow I think that plane was overrepresented in the book.

WINGMAN BY MACK MALONEY

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Copyright 1987.

It has been two years since America lost WWIII to the Soviets. They won on the battlefield in Europe soundly defeating the armies of the Warsaw Pact. Yet the Vice President was a Soviet mole and had the President and his cabinet assassinated. Then he turned off the star wars shield and the Soviets were able to obliterate the ICBM fields in the Midwest. What resulted was the New Order. The U.S. was to destroy all its advanced aircraft and other military equipment. The country is broken up into various independent nations and Free States. All broadcast TV and radio was banned and so is any mention of the United States and the American flag. Hawk Hunter is a fighter pilot who has been living on a mountain in New Hampshire since the great stab in the back. One day he gets a message from his old commander General Jones. Jones is head of the Airforce for the Northeastern Economic Zone which is made up of New England. He is offered a job and the chance to fly the last F-16 in existence.

Naturally he accepts but soon trouble is on the way in New Order America. The Middle Atlantic Conference known as Mid-Aks have been steadily conquering territory. With traitors in the Zone government they manage to launch a successful coup and Hunter and the Zone air force are forced to flee. Hunter eventually hooks up with Louie St. Louie the founder of Football City. Formerly St. Louis, Football City is now the gambling capital of he continent. Their main attraction is a football game played all day for most of the year. Yet the forces of evil are gathering to destroy this bastion of freedom. The Family the Mafia has taken over Chicago and build up a mercenary army. With Soviet advisors and financing they are about to conquer Football City. Hunter is tasked with building up an air force from scratch to defend the city. It ends in a spectacular battle.

This is one of my favorite series from the eighties. It is like Top Gun meets the Road Warrior. I have heard it described as a comic book in book form and that is a very accurate description. Apparently after the war the older aircraft were overlooked so everyone uses old jet fighters from the fifties and sixties. Hunter has the only modern fighter in America. This is a character that is larger then life and fighting opponents that are larger then life. Now it is a bit absurd for people to go cruising around in a jet fighter like it was a Toyota. In real life such a complex piece of machinery needs a crew of twenty and mounds of spare parts to operate. You don’t really care because this story is just so fun. The series continued well into the nineties before morphing into a sci-fi series called Starhawk. Then the author revived it a few years ago so the series has a popular following. Personally one of my favorites.

LONG RUN TO TOBRUK BY GORDON LANDSBOROUGH

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Copyright 1975.

A daring S.A.S. raid takes place hundreds of miles behind enemy lines. An airfield is hit and destroys 39 planes on the ground. These are planes that Rommel can’t afford to lose. He orders the S.A.S. be hunted down and captured or destroyed. So begins a cat and mouse chase across the vast expanse of the Libyan desert. The commandos have to face the grueling heat and lack of water. Along with troops and airplanes out to get them. This includes the elite paratroopers that Rommel sends after them. It all comes to an exciting conclusion.

I saw this on a facebook page and remembered it from my childhood. I remember trying to read this when I was probably nine or ten. I think I was just too young for this. I decided to get it and try it now. After all it has been a while since I read a good WWII book. This was a very good book. The characters and setting seem very authentic. There is the aristocratic captain who has this attitude you would expect from an officer from the time. He looks a bit down on his lieutenant for not attending the proper public school. Yet he will back him up when one of the men accuses him of abandoning him because that is what is expected of him. Officers will always back up other officers. Yet he is a very competent one and has genuine concern for his men. There is the corporal who always smiles to hide his fear. Someone descended from an Italian immigrant who has this love of everything Italian.

Considering that the author was a veteran who served in North Africa it is no surprise that the book seems authentic. Landsborough was a very prolific author and wrote many books including ones set in North Africa. I probably will someday check them out. If you want a realistic WWII story then this is a good book for you.

THE DEFENDER #12 NO SURVIVORS BY JERRY AHERN

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Copyright 1990.

David Holden and the Patriots in Montana plan to attack Fort Makowski and free the officers kept prisoner. David marries his girlfriend Rosie after finding out she is pregnant. They manage to recruit the local Native Americans for the big assault. The day of the big assault arrives and the group manage to infiltrate the fort disguised as Presidential Strike Force personal. In spite of it being a trap they still manage to free the prisoners, kill Townsend Holmes the presidential chief of staff and take prisoner President Makowski. In the escape Makowski is killed while trying to escape and Both David Holden and Rosie also die. Meanwhile Geoffrey Kearney is taken to a nationwide broadcast where he is supposed to give the position of the FLNA on nationwide TV. Instead he kills the FLNA leadership including Dmitri Borsoi and makes his escape. Twenty five years later Wisdom Twobears is elected President and at the inauguration unveils a statue dedicated to the Patriot heroes who gave their life. It is Rufus Burroughs holding a flag with David Holden and Rosie Holden holding each other before they die.

The final book in the series lives up to its name. There are survivors but the main characters are killed. I thought it was a bold move to kill off David and Rosie at the end. He sets them up as about to have a baby and getting married. Ahern could have had them survive and live happily ever after. Yet he chose the more powerful ending of sacrificing their lives. Throughout we get the speech from President Twobears who was a teenager during this time talk about the events. This was a good idea as it gives the readers some foreshadowing of the events about to occur. We know they succeed but there is a sense that not everyone makes it.

This was a much darker series then anything Ahern as written before. It is filled with kids being killed and molested. Terrorists killing whole families and the main character loses his own wife and children. There is a sense of urgency as we see the country slowly lose its freedom. I think its the only one where the hero doesn’t come out alive at the end. I think Ahern was very prescient when he predicted the future. The way the government eagerly grabs power during an emergency. The way the press gleefully supports the government. There is one scene where a reporter is bragging about how great it is that there are warrantless searches going on. That the piece of mind this measure brings is worth the minor inconvenience. I mean it you have nothing to hide like owning a gun or CB radio which is also now illegal then you have nothing to worry about. Plus they will buy you a new door to replace the one knocked down. Yeah right. I could see the Marxist activists pretending to be journalists nowadays being all for it. A very relevant series for what is going on these days.

THE DEFENDER #11 THE CHALLENGE BY JERRY AHERN

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Copyright 1990.

The Patriots in Montana have discovered that many of the captured military officers are being interned at Camp Makowski. There the regime plans to brainwash them into obedient followers of the regime. The only hope is to get the Patriots from Metro to help them mount a rescue. So David Holden goes out to Montana to help plan the rescue. He first has to escape a trap by the Presidential Strike Force because of a traitor. Then he has to unite the various Native American tribes into a fighting force. Meanwhile Geoffrey Kearney the British agent and his girlfriend have successfully infiltrated the FLNA. The leader Borsoi has plans to make Kearney the spokesman for the organization. Unfortunately his girlfriend develops a drinking problem and an accident is arranged by Borsoi to get her out of the way.

This was an excellent book. The series is really moving to a climatic confrontation. Already it is setting up for a confrontation between all the major players. David Holden will confront President Makowski while Kearney now has a personal reason to kill Borsoi. We get to see just how loathsome Makowski and his chief of staff Townsend Holmes really are. We also get a real glimpse into the FLNA who are just degenerate criminals out to take over the country. Introduces some new characters in Mathew Smith and the Indians of the Patriots in Montana. We see that Makowski is completely insane and plans to invade Canada and annex the western provinces so Alaska can’t succeed. You get a feeling that the big final confrontation is about to happen which it does in the next and final book of the series.

THE DEFENDER #10 THE GOOD FIGHT BY JERRY AHERN

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Copyright 1990.

The Makowski regime has rounded up all the officers and noncoms from all branches of the military that aren’t loyal to his regime. They are packed into boxcars for eventually elimination. One officer manages to escape and make it to the Patriots and tell them of this. David Holden the leader has to mount a rescue mission for the imprisoned officers. At this time the Presidential Strike Force has occupied Metro and is shooting down unarmed protesters. They have to stage a raid on their main HQ located in an old theater. This mission is a success but unfortunately they fail to rescue most of the imprisoned officers. Geoffrey Kearney and his girlfriend manage to infiltrate the FLNA as recruits.

The series really starts to take a dark tone in this book. We have people getting imprisoned and killed by the PSF. Military officers not loyal to Makowski are rounded up and taken out to be shot. The FLNA has apparently taken over Mexico and using that country has launched an invasion of the border areas and the gulf coast. You do get a feeling of desperation setting in. That the country has really gone to hell. This final stretch of the series continued to fire on all cylinders to give us this dystopian version of a future America under a dictator.

SUPER DEFENDER 9 DEATH GRIP BY JERRY AHERN

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Copyright 1990.

The real President has been assassinated by Roman Makowski. Makowski has framed the Patriots and David Holden as the ones responsible. Makowski declares martial law and with his Presidential Strike Force, his own army of killers and rapists recruited out of prisons, start to crack down on the country. The only hope is to retrieve a tape that the now murdered FBI director Cerillia made before he died that can expose Makowski. They have to find this tape and fight off PSF and FLNA to broadcast the tape to the American people.

This book is one of the special editions that most action series in the eighties and nineties liked to periodically release in series. Three times the length of a normal book this book takes the series in a whole new direction. A direction where they now are not just fighting a terrorist group but a dictatorial government. The stakes have been raised and so has the action. Naturally they succeed and at the end it is hinted that there will be a revolution to overthrow Makowski. This is where the series really hit its stride. It had a more dangerous and larger than life opponent to fight. The stakes and danger was turned up dramatically and the series continued to get more interesting as it progressed.

THE DEFENDER #8 JUSTICE DENIED BY JERRY AHERN

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Copyright 1989.

David Holden has been rescued from Peru. Now they have to smuggle him back to the states. The FLNA has its own sources and first hijacks a coast guard ship to intercept the boat. When that fails they then try to smuggle him in on a container ship. The FLNA also almost gets them. No sooner then David is back that he finds the country has really gone down hill. President Makowski has federalized the National Guard and they are confiscating guns under his new executive order. Word reaches Holden that the real President is about to awaken from his coma. Makowski has set in motion plans to have him assassinated. Holden with his Patriots and Luther Steele’s FBI task force must infiltrate a hospital in Virginia to rescue the President.

With this book the series was really getting good. The assassination of the President has the power mad Roman Makowski consolidate his power. FBI director Cerillia is also killed at the end but not before hiding away proof that Makowski is the one responsible for the murder. The series now is establishing the fight against the US government as well as the FLNA. We already see that the country is sinking more and more under a authoritarian regime that cares little about the rights of the citizen. A side subplot with British agent Kearney sees him continue to try and infiltrate the FLNA. He finds a woman named Linda Effingham who he falls in love with and she joins his cause. A sad but powerful ending when they fail to prevent the assassination of the President.

THE DEFENDER #7 VENGEANCE BY JERRY AHERN

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Copyright 1989.

Rosie Shepherd of the Patriots is working with Tom Ashbrooke to get David Holden out of Peru. Ashbrooke uses his contacts with Mossad to mount a rescue operation. A commando force is infiltrated to attack the drug compound of Innocentio Hernandez. Back in Illinois Geoffrey Kearney has managed to infiltrate a mental hospital that is a front for the FLNA. He destroys the place and rescues the wife of the mid-western leader which will get him closer to finding Dmitri Borsoi and killing him. David Holden has decided to take on Hernandez himself and attacks the compound. He meets up with Rosie and the Mossad commandos while getting his revenge on Hernandez.

This book finally gets Holden rescued from Peru which means he will be back to having more adventures back in the U.S. of A. Thomas Ashbrooke is established as a major character with his ties to smugglers and Mossad. The Israelis as well as the British are concerned about the deteriorating situation in America. I found that the subplot with Kearney the British agent was to most interesting story going on. I love that there is a disclaimer at the front warning not to try the method he used to destroy the mental hospital as it is extremely dangerous. Yeah that will work to deter someone. Still I guess you have to cover your ass legally.

THE DEFENDER #6 ESCAPE BY JERRY AHERN

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Copyright 1989.

David Holden has been captured and taken to Peru by the FLNA. Captive of some vicious drug dealers he manages to escape thanks to Maria. Now they have to avoid the hired gunmen and figure out a way to get out of the country and back to the states. Meanwhile Geoffrey Kearney a British intelligence agent has infiltrated the U.S. His mission is to kill Dmitri Borsoi so the FLNA activities are disrupted in the U.S. Seems the British aren’t too keen on the world’s leader of the free world falling to Communism. While in America he manages to help foil an assassination attempt on FBI agent Luther Steel and his family. The acting President Roman Makowski wants him gone and has sent assassins to finish him. Rosie Shepherd the lover of David Holden now assumes command of the Patriots in his absence and launches a bold attack on an FLNA base. She also contacts Thomas Ashbrooke the father-in-law of Holden for help in getting Holden back. Ashbrooke is a former smuggler now living in Switzerland. His connections to the underworld help them find out where Holden is located and organize a rescue mission.

This book has a lot going on. We get to see that Rosie is just as capable a leader as she takes charge of the Patriots. We find out that Makowski the acting President is working to consolidate his power by taking out people that could oppose him. We get introduced to two main characters. Geoffrey Kearney a British agent that is now in the U.S. to kill the head of the FLNA. Another is Thomas Ashbrooke who has some shady connections in the war on these terrorists. Ends with the wheels of a rescue mission in motion as Holden loses Maria and vows revenge on the drug lords. A good solid adventure book.