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Two soldiers: one a celebrated military hero and the other a broken veteran living in the gutters of London. Their paths last crossed nearly twenty years ago. Now, amidst a hostage crisis in the Middle East, their lives are about to collide again. And the Strike Back is about to begin.
John Porter was involved in a hostage raid in Lebanon in 1989. The raid went disastrously wrong; several Regiment men died. John spared the life of a Lebanese fighter and blames himself for the deaths. Struggling to come to terms with the past, John has hit the bottle and is sleeping rough.
Colonel Peregrine Collinson was involved in the same raid. Unbeknownst to his colleagues, it was Peregrine’s fault that the mission went wrong. He was awarded a Military Cross and is heralded as a military hero for something he didn’t do.
After the disastrous raid, the lives of the two men couldn’t have been further apart. Until now. A hostage crisis in the Middle East draws the enemies back together again. Who will be the hero this time?
From the Trade Paperback edition.
the man standing behind the window. Hassad. His AK-47 gripped to his fists, he was spraying round after round of bullets through the window and into the bodies of the men who had taken them captive. Porter reached forward, grabbing hold of one of the guns that had spilt out onto the floor. He rolled away, so that his back was against the wall, then flashed the gun up and lashed his finger onto the trigger. It was pointing straight at Collinson. Outside the firing had stopped. Hassad must have
Collinson. Porter’s eyes flashed towards him, the contempt unconcealed. Collinson returned the look, and as he did so a thin, detached smile crossed over his lips. It was more than fifteen years since Porter had last seen him, but he still looked in remarkably good shape for a man in his mid-forties. His hair had grown darker, but there was still plenty of it. There was a little more flesh on him, but he was still lean and trim. ‘John, sit down,’ said Layla quietly. She pulled out a chair at
be hard stone, it might be shards of glass, they could have tossed him into a well to drown him. In a brief instant, he could remember his instructors in the Regiment telling him that one of the ways the Iraqis tortured their prisoners was to blindfold them, then push them downstairs, because the terror of falling without knowing where you were going was more than most men could bear. I can see their point, he thought grimly. He had thrown his arms around his face to protect it. In the next
proper bloody soldiers,’ said Steve. ‘The fighting kind.’ He pointed to Keith to keep hold of Bratton, then started climbing the stairs. Mike and Porter followed him with Collinson bringing up the rear. As Porter pushed his head up into the main room, the way seemed clear enough. They just had to get back up to the roof, then the chopper could pick them up and they could fly home. ‘Clear,’ said Steve, as he looked out around the empty room. Porter motioned down the staircase. Keith and Mike
time. The light from the flames licking up around the meeting point had illuminated the first few metres, but it was fading fast, and within a few seconds Porter was struggling to keep track of Hassad through the darkness. A wall loomed up ahead of them, but to the right-hand side, there was a crack that appeared to lead upwards. It was part of an old ventilation shaft that must have been built years ago. ‘Here,’ said Hassad. ‘This will take us to the next level. Where the lift is.’ ‘The lift