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 #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.

THE DEFENDER #5 ENTRAPMENT BY JERRY AHERN

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Copyright 1989.

The FBI with the help of David Holden raid Cedar Ridge Island. They manage to destroy a key operation base of the FLNA. Dimitri Borsoi is not letting this be a setback. First he manages to steal some missiles from an Army base. Then he uses them to attack a building where a security conference is being chaired by the President. The attack kills the Vice President and puts the President in a coma. This makes Roman Makowski the radical speaker of the House the acting President. If this isn’t bad enough the FLNA sets a trap that captures David Holden the leader of the Patriots. After some sadistic torture by Borsoi, Holden is taken to Peru. As captive of a viscous drug lord they plan to either torture Holden for info or get him to switch sides. Luckily a prostitute with a heart of gold helps Holden and he manages to escape.

This book starts to turn up the action. We get the President in a coma and VP killed. This will have some serious consequences in later books. It also starts the adventures of Holden in Peru as he tries to get back home and avoid the evil drug lords. This was a good book with lots of dark stuff like people getting set on fire alive. Holden’s reaction was very believable as he seems to lose it after this incident. A good solid book.

THE DEFENDER #4 DECISION TIME BY JERRY AHERN

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Copyright 1989.

The Patriots have found out that the leading candidate for major of Metro is secretly a member of the FLNA. So Luther Steel the FBI agent goes to Chicago to investigate. He finds out that the candidate is selling drugs to finance the FLNA and is also a pedophile. Meanwhile David Holden and Rosie Shepherd go undercover at a rich island development called Cedar Ridge Islands. The place is a front for the FLNA to smuggle terrorists into the country and set them up with phony IDs. This results in a confrontation with Dimitri Borsoi who is running the FLNA and him seeming to fall out of a helicopter over the ocean. Then they have to expose the mayoral candidate and ensue the elections happen in spite of FLNA attempts to stop them.

So in this book we get to see that the Patriots and the FBI are informally allied. Holden finally confronts the main baddy in Borsoi and it seems that he is killed. But he survives and at the end makes sure the winning mayoral candidate is killed by a suicide pilot crashing into this home. I enjoyed the introduction of a new character in Rocky Saddler a old Korean war vet and now private investigator. A real badass. A good book if not the greatest but the story is soon going into more exciting directions.

THE DEFENDER #3 OUT OF CONTROL BY JERRY AHERN

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Copyright 1988.

David Holden and his Patriots continue their fight against the Front for the Liberation of North America(FLNA). Now it looks like he will have an ally. The President has secretly decided to ally with him. Through the FBI director Cerillia he contacts Holden. With Luther Steel an FBI agent and his special team they manage to capture an operative. Taking him to a secret base they interrogate him. Only an FLNA operative has infiltrated the FBI. They find out that Cerillia’s aid is part of the FLNA. That soon they are going to attack a special law enforcement conference in New Mexico between representatives from The U.S., Canada and Mexico. Now it is up to Holden and Steel to stop their attack.

The third book in the series gives Holden and the Patriots an ally. The President is sympathetic but has to act clandestinely because the Patriots are still an illegal group. We are introduced to Luther Steel and his special task force which now works with the Patriots. This now gives the group some much needed help in their fight. We find out that the government is infiltrated by the FLNA. It is revealed that the upcoming mayoral election for the fictional city of Metro may have a possible FLNA man in the lead. This was a good solid entry in the series. It continues to set up this world and it’s characters. We get some more on how ruthless the FLNA is when they kill the families of defense contractors. A interesting story filled with action and plot development.