14 June, 2013

#SpecialFeature :: #Spotlight on The Fox Princess by Charlie Flowers

Now Presenting:
*** SPECIAL FEATURE - June'13 ***

The Fox Princess (The Rizwan Sabir Mysteries) by Charlie Flowers 

RIZ IS BACK! AND ON THE WARPATH... Rizwan Sabir returns, on a last-ditch, desperate mission to find his fiancée, dead or alive. Do the Americans have her body? Is she in Gitmo or a "Black Site"? And what is going on with her avatar in cyberspace? Who or what is the Fox Princess? Nothing will get in Riz's way, as to a background of escalating tension and a countdown to a massive right-wing demo, the action takes us from London to Afghanistan, Paris and across Britain. Bad things are going to happen and the only people who can stop them are Riz and his gang...


Read An Excerpt

CHAPTER 12

27th September 

‘Final drills. Check weapons. Check air. Aircrew. How long, guys?’ Swallow was speaking in our earpieces. We’d climbed to 24,000 feet and gone to oxygen masks an hour ago as we passed 10,000. And we were still climbing, high above the clouds and out of sight and earshot from anybody on the ground. We were all on pure oxygen from the machine on the pallet as we waited. Breathing pure oxy was to reduce the risk from “the bends”, or nitrogen bubbles forming in the blood, as we climbed to drop altitude. 
Aircrew replied in our earpieces in scratchy tones. ‘Twenty minutes. Go to carried air.’ 
We unplugged ourselves from the pallet and switched to the small oxygen bottles on our belts. The loading bay lights were 
dim red, and had been for a while. Swallow and I now began to buckle ourselves together into the tandem harness. It was a good thing he was a big lad, I was basically hanging off him. Damn this rig was awkward. We were going to fling ourselves into the Afghan airspace from four miles up, so high that no-one on the  ground could hear the plane, and Swallow was going to do all the steering. We both made sure everything was strapped down tight, AKs made safe, racing jockey goggles on, oxygen masks clipped snugly. We were all wearing insulated jumpsuits made of special radar-absorbent material. A loadie held up a flashcard. That was the signal. The team waddled down the fuselage to the carrier ramp in a close file like penguins. The loadies stood around us, holding cards which they illuminated with red orienteering torches strapped to their heads. 
They presented the cards just like in playschool, in a set order to make sure no-one had missed an item. The loadies also checked their harnesses were attached to the webbing on either side of the fuselage. Nobody wanted to fall out of the plane without a chute. 
We watched the jumpmaster. The ramp whined open. We shuffled forward until the team was on the edge. I could hear and see nothing but howling blackness. The four turbines roared. Red lights went on on the left and right of the tailgate. 
‘Red on! Red on!’ everybody shouted. The lights went green.‘Ready… set…GO!’ 
We flung ourselves out and off the ramp. 
‘Enjoy the ride, Tel’ said Swallow in my headset. Above us, our drogue chute deployed. Around us in the blackness, the other team members would be forming up in a loose diamond pattern around us, watching the tiny glowfly lights on their helmets and  grabbing each others’ flightsuits to hold onto that formation. I tried to remember the drills and kept my limbs as straight as 
possible in the buffeting air. I looked down and around as the howl of the C130’s turbines faded and was replaced by the 
rushing wind. Now I could see a sprawl of lights through the clouds. Maybe Kabul. If it was, that other cluster would be 
Bagram to the north. Hello, Afghanistan, here we come, I thought. 
At 15,000 feet the diamond formation separated as the team checked their altimeters. Seconds later Swallow’s AOD went and our main chute deployed. THUMP. It was like being on the end of a bungee. We seemed to rush to a halt in the sky and the howl of air stopped. The harness bit into my thighs. Now we would all glide in a series of long curves in the air, down to the landing zone. Above me, I could hear Swallow putting on his nightvision goggles. He’d be looking for the firefly sparks of the other team members’ infra red strobes and watching his chest-harness GPS display, tacking left and right as we went to the little blip of the landing zone, many miles ahead. ‘Got ‘em.’ We trailed down through the night sky, gently forming up into 
a stack, Swallow and me on the top and bringing up the rear. I tried to relax and enjoy the ride as Swallow had said. I looked around. It was just past three in the morning local time. The moon had just set. We had a good twenty miles to fly and it 
could take over an hour, depending on the winds.
‘Get ready, Tel. Remember the drills.’ The scented ground of Afghanistan was coming up to us, and then it started to rush. 
‘Stand by, stand by… bend ze knees…’ I laughed. I raised my arms and gripped his wrists as he got 
ready to land. Swallow pulled down on the risers and the chute flared. Below us our packs hit the ground with a small thud on the end of their three-metre line, and then THUMP. 
We were down. Swallow ran us forward a few paces and turned so the lines folded around him. He extracted himself from the chute and unstrapped us. First things first. Swallow cleared and cocked his AK, and patted my shoulder. I unstrapped my AK and tore off the protective taping. We both dropped to one knee and tuned into our surroundings. Immediately in front of us the rest of the team had landed in puffs of dust, their packs thudding in ahead of them, and they’d done the drills we had. Their chutes and lines were gathered in and they were facing outwards in a loose semi-circle. And now we waited, waited for the night air to envelop us and ambient noises to return. Nothing.
After five long minutes had passed Swallow and Dinger made slow hand signals and we gathered on them. They took fixes of 
our position on their GPS sets. We took off our flightsuits and laid them in a pile along with the parachute rigs, headgear, 
goggles, and oxygen masks, and stashed them in a dry culvert nearby. Swallow and Dinger got some brushwood, piled it on, 
and then laid down something extra we’d brought with us. Desert camouflage netting liberally dressed with local thorns and leaves over it, that the team had spent a day or two making and painting back at Credenhill. We fussed with it for several minutes then stepped back and checked. Invisible for now. Eventually, the gear would be discovered by an ISAF sweep, but that would be after the event. We walked one hundred metres away, regrouped, and took the time to check each other over. We were all dressed Taliban-style, with turbans and scarves to conceal our faces. We looked at each others’ beltkits and I was shown the first aid pack. We then checked our AKs again and moved out north, beginning the walk to the cache, Bagram, and then our attack point. After an hour’s slow, careful march Swallow held up his hand and we stopped and all dropped to one knee. The team leaders checked with their NVGs, sweeping slowly from left to right.Before us, like a pale ghost in the pre-dawn gloom, was the hull of the wrecked car we had viewed from the overheads. 
Swallow came and murmured in my ear ‘we dig the packets in now, under the car’, and then went and muttered the same in 
Dinger’s ear. We edged forward to the car body and began digging with two entrenching tools. After ten minutes we had a 
good hide - hole and they placed my two kitbags inside and covered them with earth. But not before Dinger placed a two - 
kilo PETN explosive charge on top of them and hooked a tripwire into the nearest tyre with some fishing line and hook 
attached to a ringpull-fuze. Dinger looked at me and nodded downwards. He had my attention. Any random person investigating this cache would be blown into the stratosphere, and with the amount of unexploded ordnance lying around the Afghan countryside, it would fade into the background. Swallow took another GPS fix, then took a reading on his 
Silva compass to be sure and gripped my shoulder. He spoke quietly in my ear again. ‘The cache is 2,110 metres south east of Bagram airbase’s southern fence line corner, heading 2755.5 mils… which is 155 degrees, that’s one-five-five degrees. I’ve
already reversed it for you. When you break out, get a fix, and tab two klicks and a bit south-south east.’ 
I nodded. We moved out again. Every now and again I turned and walked backwards, to look the way we’d come, burning the terrain into my memory as much as I could. The sky was beginning to lighten in the east. 
We walked slowly and carefully north alongside irrigation ditches for half an hour. All I could smell was the pervasive shitstink from the ditches. Ahead of us was a bright glow on the horizon that became a brightly-lit fence line in the distance. An 
airport, no less. As we watched, a plane came in to land, blackedout and silhouetted against the base lights. 
Swallow spoke. ‘The Emerald City, lads. Here we are.’ He looked at me. ‘Now we start the attack on the Septics, 
mate. OK, stay low, here we go.’ We jogged towards the target until we were roughly three hundred metres away. Close enough to cause a ruckus, not too close to trigger alarms. 
I handed my AK to Swallow and hit the ground. I knew what was about to go down. The team ran forward in ragged order, 
dropped, and opened up on the fence line. I put my hands over my ears to preserve my short-term hearing. Bursts of flame lit up the night. We were go. To my right and left, the RWW guys started shouting fire control orders as they engaged the 
watchtowers. I hugged the dirt. They doubled back, in a haze of fire and smoke, as planned, and there I was. The sacrificial goat. I buried my face in the grit and started counting. I counted... and counted. The echoes faded. Like wraiths, they were gone. 
And then the noise from the Bagram perimeter started up. 
I hugged the dirt. I kept hugging it. Ten minutes later there was an approaching whine, like a mosquito. It got louder. I felt a touch on my shoulder. I rolled onto my back like a good Taliban insurgent. A robot was inspecting me. This would have to be the US Army. A flare fired from the back of the robot, and within seconds an alsatian was standing over me and barking like it was Doggy Christmas. Three minutes later and a Hummer screeched to a halt to my left in cloud of dust. I heard boots. Flashlights settled on me. I winced. A Specialist First Class was standing over me. She said one word as she aimed the Taser. 
‘Motherfucker.’ 
And then the lights went out.


Raves & Reviews

 Certainly, Mr. Flowers is not a one-hit wonder! In this follow up to Riz, Flowers kicks this ride in gear and leaves a path of broken bad guys littering the urban and desert roads. ~~ Mubin Shaikh on Goodreads

Telling a story that is both compelling and topical. Styled with meticulous detail. Tautly paced and savagely anarchic. ~~ Saira Viola on Goodreads

Bond is SO last century- Rizwan Sabir is a spy and adventure hero for the age of information. ~~ Magia on Amazon

The quality of the writing and extent of the knowledge of arms, cyber warfare, military operations, and computers makes these books irresistible. They are an absolute joy to read. ~~ Sarah Hague on Amazon

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Giveaway
Charlie has offered to giveaway 2 digital copies of the first book in The Rizwan Sabir Mystery Series, that is Riz. Enter in the rafflecopter below:
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