Countdown: The Liberators Mass Market Paperback – Jan 25 2011
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About the Author
Tom Kratman, in 1974 at age seventeen, became a political refugee and defector from the PRM (People's Republic of
Top Customer Reviews
I particularly enjoyed the logistics of setting up a highly trained, low tech (in some ways) unit on a budget; of course, Russian equipment was on the menu, cheap but effective.
This is a great THEME of John Ringo's (Ghost Series) and Tom Kratman's books, making war, pay for war. They are the ONLY ones exploring this idea, and it's a true pleasure to see it here; if You take some of the most experienced soldiers the world has ever seen, have them form a unit of their peers, which will create a unit of NCO's and Officers (only), with no inexperienced young lings to mess things up, this will be quite the unit to take on all enemies they will find.
I cannot wait for the 2 other books coming, seriously.I hope he does more than the other 2, there is so much that can be done with this premise, this highly professional & powerful military unit (esp. today).
I honestly think as well, that he could go further, and even off-shoot the series on a side-lane if he wanted,(i.e. a side series, maybe another author) by going Scifi with this, a la Posleen Scifi mixed in with today's technology: Not with the Posleen, but an accident or something moving the whole unit deployed for combat or training into another planet, world or time (like the series by John Birmingham in a alternate WW II).
I heartily recommend it, you will not be disappointed.
I have some spoilers below as well, and more info about my review of it...Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Although the colonel retrieved the bodies of the captured SEALS, higher command was embarrassed by his methods. The commanding general refused to courtmartial the colonel, but instead threatened retaliation against his men. The colonel resigned, but so did all his men as well as the SEAL team.
In this novel, Wes Stauer had been in the US Army for thirty years. He had been in Afghanistan for three straight years and had four other tours before that. He and virtually everyone else in Afghanistan felt like they were losing the war.
Wahab is an Islamic African tribesman. He has come to America to ask Wes to rescue the abducted son of his Chief.
Adam is the only son and heir of Khalid, Chief of the Marelan tribe. He was attending school in Boston, Massachusetts, before his abduction.
Philomena Potter is an ER nurse. Phillie is getting tired of all the government paperwork. She is living with Wes.
In this story, Wes has retired in San Antonia, Texas. He has not found a job that interests him, but he has enough money to not really need a job. He and Phillie are comfortable together, but Wes is really bored.
When Wahab shows up -- at three in the morning -- Wes tells him that there is no way to rescue Adam without knowing his whereabouts. Wes installs Wahab in the spare bedroom and goes back to bed. During the night, however, he has a brainstorm.
After rudely waking Wahab at O-dark-hundred, Wes asks Phillie to make breakfast and starts using the phone. By noon, men are showing up at the front door asking "Free Beer?" Soon the house is turned into a special operations headquarters.
Phillie wonders at the changes in Wes. He had been mildly depressed, but now he is filled with energy. After listening to the planning, she asks to be included in the medical section.
The team hasn't yet finished an operations plan, but they have already decided on the dealer to provide their weapons and ammunition. They also want a very expensive ship and ask Wahab whether to buy or lease. He tells them to lease.
Wahab does approve purchasing several plots of land for manufacture and training. Yet Khalid wants to keep the land in Brazil. Wes remains the owner of record on all the other property.
They learn how Adam was taken from the US. The George Galloway is owned -- through dummy corporations -- by Al Qaeda. Although Adam is probably long gone, they decide to take the ship.
This tale is about the development of a mercenary group from scratch. Most of the group are professional soldiers who are friends of Wes or friends of friends. Others join along the way.
This novel is similar to the first volume -- A Desert Called Peace -- in the Carrera series. But this story only involves a reinforced battalion much like that in the later Ghost series. Yet Wes has big plans.
The plot has a many twists and a few major problems, but the rescuers overcome all obstacles. The next installment in this series -- M Day -- takes them on another mission.
Highly recommended for Kratman fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of professional soldiers, special operations, and faithful women.
Yes, I acknowledge the criticism some have voiced that it's a recasting of "A Desert Called Peace", with many of the same characters recognizable. When you're writing a military novel after a lifetime in the profession, you know a wide range of people, including the ones you would call on again if there was one more mission that required our professional services. Both novels, though different in setting, deal with groups of old soldiers coming together for one more go-round. If I was given the mission and budget to form a unit from scratch to accomplish a task, I know who I would call, and Tom is no different. Even if some of those men are no longer with us, and we won't see them again until we meet at the Great VFW In The Sky, we'd want them with us.
I'll leave the plot synopses to other people. I'll just say that after almost four decades in and around the Army, no one writes about soldiers like Tom Kratman except maybe John Ringo. He's better at it than Web Griffin, and twice as good as Tom Clancy. Maybe Stephen Hunter is a little bit better at the cinematics of gunpowder-fuelled violence, but Hunter doesn't do battalion-size operations let alone describe how to staff them.
As for the subject material: If there is any military veteran who wouldn't want just one more good mission, one more good mission with good men and no bull***t command overhead, I dare him or her to raise their hand. Who among us wouldn't want to get back together with the guys, train again, and do a mission worth doing before we're too old and decrepit to do so? Who of us who once wore the uniform wouldn't want "the sense that our youth was in our hands, to spend again as we wish"? Who wouldn't want to "sense our purpose" again? And yes, that is a paraphrase of a line in Chapter 3.
Not a day goes by that I don't wish an old commander of mine would call me early in the morning and say "Hey, Dan, come on over. Free beer." Until that time, I'll just reread "Countdown". Maybe the call will come tomorrow.
I consider myself a Kratman fan, but to me the story got lost in the military tedium. Too many subtropics , subplots and characters got lost in the order of battle.
Was this his answer to the movie version of The Longest Day, or was this his book version of Atlas Shrugged? At times it felt like weeks on the rack. The story was long and stretched. It was a chore to read.
The book was narrowly saved by Kratman's knowledge of military organization and the topic itself but only just. I have some goodwill for Kratman based on his other books. This book dipped into that well.
Will I buy the next book in this series? Maybe, but only on the hope that the next book is tighter and more focused, no guarantees.
Paul D. Perry
One of my favorite subjects he gets into is the intersection of military action and sexual attraction. Tom Kratman is opposed to the integration of sexually compatible people (heterosexuals of both genders, or homosexuals of either gender) in combat units (see The Amazon Legion: N/A). But he doesn't shy away from discussing it, especially ways to make it work. The psychology and sociology are extremely interesting, even if you're not involved in the military beyond the "they protect me" level.