|Hammer Spade-Book Eight|
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This book is available in the United Kingdom through Bertram Books
In book eight of a ten-book series, Hammer and his friends’ opponents are a shadowy group who call themselves The Four Horsemen and their mission is nothing less than the destruction of Western Civilization.
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In this eighth book of the Hammer Spade series. Hammer and his friends are assigned to infiltrate a shadowy group who call themselves The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Their mission is nothing less than the destruction of Western Civilization. In volume one of two volumes, Michael Clover infiltrates the Four Horsemen leadership council, Jack Kane, Clare Davis are assigned to the Black Horse of Famine group whose mission is to reduce the world’s food supply. Dave Quigley and Jim Travis are sent to Algeria on a mission by Red Horse of War group, whose aim is to foment armed conflict.
Volume Two is Available
About the Books
Four horsemen of the Apocalypse
The Antichrist rides a white horse.
I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest." This first horseman likely refers to the antichrist, who will be given authority and will conquer all who oppose him. The antichrist is the false imitator of the true Christ, as He will return on a white horse.
War rides a red horse.
Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword." The second horseman refers to terrible warfare that will break out in the end times.
Famine rides a black horse.
The third horseman is described in Revelation: and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, ‘A quart of wheat for a day's wages, and three quarts of barley for a day's wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!’” The third horseman of the apocalypse refers to a great famine that will take place, likely as a result of the wars from the second horseman. Food will be scarce, but luxuries such as wine and oil will still be readily available.
Death rides a pale horse.
The fourth horseman is mentioned in Revelation 6:8: "I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth." The fourth horseman of the apocalypse is symbolic of death and devastation. It seems to be a combination of the previous horsemen. The fourth horseman of the apocalypse will bring further warfare and terrible famines along with awful plagues and diseases. What is most amazing, or perhaps terrifying, is that the four horsemen of the apocalypse are just "precursors" of even worse judgments that come later in the Tribulation.
The elusive head of the Four Horsemen is Lord Philip Norwich a descendant of Edward of Norwich. His message to every recruit is, “The only element about our mission that is always the same is that it is never the same.” He is represented as the White Horseman of the Apocalypse.
After reading the two volumes of "Hammer Spade and the Four Horsemen", I feel as if I have been to an Indiana Jones movie. The many characters in the adventure story are colorful and exciting. As the story unfolds, you will find yourself becoming involved with the personalities in the story and perhaps begin to compare them with real-life characters you have known. The wide variety of locations visited in the book are well described and picturesque. Your imagination can race ahead as you read, however, you must keep reading to see how the story ends. I keep thinking that this story could be a movie. I can't wait to read the last volume!
Betty (Whealton) Garren, Ph.D.
University of South Carolina
Professor of Education
Reviewed by Rina Hutchinson
Once again Hammer Spade is thrown into a tangled web of intrigue as his team is chosen to infiltrate the Four Horsemen Organization, a group dedicated to taking over the world by means of famine, war, corruption of religion, and death. And, once more, Hammer and his team rise to the occasion and the intrigue that follows captivates the reader, taking him on the journey into the dark organization and revealing the plans for the destruction of Western Civilization.
Secrecy abounds as the team is broken up into pairs and the objectives of each team are kept cloaked from the others. In the first part of Hammer Spade and the Four Horsemen, the reader is lead by the familiar Jack Kane and Clare Davis, who go undercover to gain the trust of the Black Horseman leaders and develop a plan to bring about worldwide food shortages. Of course, there is always a snag and Clare’s character is tested even further as this elaborate mission evolves.
In part two, Dave Quigley and Jim Travis join the Red Horseman group whose aim is to bring about war. As the two venture into the desert they are tested with situations which add whimsy to the mix and meet with interesting characters who guide them through their mission. In the process, many new characters emerge on the scenes who add a splash of color to the story to make it even more unforgettable. Among those who will become beloved characters in the future, is Nisreeno, an Imazighen Princess who has won the heart of Jim Travis through a carefully manipulated plot. This beautiful and intelligent woman wins the heart of the reader as well.
As always, E. B. Alston’s settings are brought to life with detail and the characters are interesting and realistic. Obstacles are faced with witty dialogue and personal exchanges that endear the characters in the reader’s heart. There is also a sense of holding one’s breath as the plans created by each team emerge and the realization that it could happen become evident, which adds to the suspense and tension felt by the reader.
With the plans for famine and war seemingly secure, one can only imagine what lies ahead for the other two factions of the Four Horsemen as we anticipate volume two of the series.
Excerpt From Chapter Six of Volume One
(Jack Kane, aka Cecil Council, and Clare Davis, aka Cornelia Council)
“Well, Cornelia,” Jack said with a grin after he laid the phone down, “what say we go to dinner?”
“Where do you propose we go?”
“Swede recommended the Perth Roadhouse & Restaurant on Main Road. He said it was the kind of place you’d like.”
“Why would he say that?”
“He knows you don’t like Thaddeus.”
“So Swede is not as stupid as he seems.”
“Nope. I believe it will be hard to fool Swede. I hope Loflin gets us something good.”
They took the bus to the restaurant and found it to be congenial, inexpensive, clean, crowded and the service was professional. Jack dined on steak and lobster while Clare had stuffed shrimp.
While they were eating, Clare noticed a man who appeared to be watching them. He kept his eyes on Jack while he made a call on his cell phone.
“We have company,” Clare said as she took a sip of wine.
“Man or woman?”
“Man. Thin, pale, geeky looking, about five nine, blonde, wavy hair.”
“Is he packing heat?”
“If he is, it’s little. He’s dressed in golf clothes.”
“We’ll give him a little test when we leave here.”
Jack took out a city map he brought from their suite, opened it and pointed to another restaurant around the corner a half block away.
“We’ll leave here and saunter in that direction as if we have all the time in the world. After we pass the corner, we’ll speed up, but not too much, because we don’t want to get anybody’s attention. We’ll duck into that restaurant and see if he follows us.”
They took their time over dessert and remained at their table sipping wine after Jack paid their bill. Then Clare collected her purse and took out her compact as if to check her makeup.
“He’s getting ready to follow us,” she said.
They left the restaurant as planned, walked faster after turning the corner and were inside the restaurant at a table by the window when the sallow looking guy rushed by. He stopped beside the restaurant looking around in a panicky way. When he glanced toward the window, he spotted Jack and their eyes met. The man turned away and walked swiftly across the street, stopped beside a fire hydrant and made another telephone call. Then he walked away and disappeared into the crowd.
“This may be more serious than we supposed,” Jack observed.
“I wish I had my 45 with me,” Clare said.
Excerpt From Chapter Thirteen of Volume One
(Dave Quigley and Jim Travis)
“We’re on the south side of the mountain,” Dave observed. “We have just crawled all the way through that mountain.”
They looked below and saw the city spread out. It was the time just before sundown when lights are being turned on.
Jim opened his cell phone. “It works. Who should we call?”
“I don’t know. Not Alain for sure.”
“Yeah,” Jim agreed. “He might be the one who set us up. Colonel Masterson?”
“Not yet. Let’s walk down to town, find us an English speaker who will take us to a restaurant and hotel. Then we’ll talk things over.”
They struggled two hours down the mountain and joined the crowd of pedestrians. Every few yards one of them would ask, “Does anybody speak English?”
Thirty minutes later, they heard a woman’s voice say, “I do.”
They stopped and looked in the direction of the voice and saw a well-tanned blonde angel dressed in a skirt, blouse and heels. They hurried toward her as if they thought she was a mirage.
Dave got to her first, stopped and offered his hand. “Dave Quigley. And are we glad to see you!”
“Cleopatra Kerr,” she said as she shook his hand.
Then Jim came up, shook her hand and said, “You are a sight for sore eyes.”
Cleopatra listened to their sad story—they left out the part about the talking snake—and hailed a cab. She spoke to the driver and accompanied them to the L'Hotel Tahat a Tam.
“Don’t complain,” Cleopatra said on the drive to the hotel. “It’s the only hotel in Tamanghasset.”
The cab driver dropped them off in front of a one-story reddish adobe building with a sign in Arabic. She helped them check in and took them to the restaurant. After they were seated, Cleopatra helped them order breakfast, which they devoured ravenously.
“Where are you from?” Jim asked.
“Salt Lake City.”
“What in the world are you doing here?” Dave asked.
“I’m working on my doctorate in the Arabic languages. I was visiting the Tamanghasset area on a field trip with another student. He disappeared two days ago. I was on my way back to my room from the local police station.”
“Were they any help?” Jim asked.
“They were polite but didn’t seem to be overly concerned. People disappear all the time here. Most are kidnapped. Some are sold as slaves.” Cleopatra was unusual in that she had not panicked and kept her wits about her.
“What are your plans now?” Dave asked.
“I’ve contacted the American Embassy in Oran. They’re working on it.”
“Was he your boyfriend?” Jim asked.
“No. He was a fellow student, but I feel responsible for him anyway. He was bad about going off on his own looking for excitement.”
“We haven’t fared very well ourselves,” Dave admitted. “We were caught flatfooted like a couple of yokels. We need an interpreter and a guide. Are you interested?”
“I can help with the language but if you want to go outside Tamanghasset, I won’t be much help.”
“You’ve got a lot of nerve coming way out here,” Jim said.
She smiled. “I love it. I love the primitive environment, the rustic living conditions and the food.”
“Then will you work for us?” Dave asked.
“What’s the pay?” she asked.
“A hundred a day and all the sand you can eat.”
“I’m in. What will we do?”
“We’re on our way to the fortress of Larbi Aama Tahar M’hidi that lies in the shadow of Mount Tahat in the Ahaggar Mountains.”
“Why on earth would you go there? It’s hotter and more desolate than Tamanghasset.”
“We’re on a top-secret mission of worldwide importance.”
She laughed. “I bet. Here in Algeria?”
“It is. We need to rent a vehicle and provision up to travel to his camp.” Jim said.
“Are you armed?” she asked.
“We were. But an Algerian named Cheb Cheriet stole them.”
“Cheb Cheriet!” she exclaimed.
“Yeah,” Dave replied. “You know him?”
“Yes, I know him!”
Dave and Jim looked at each other. “Small world, ain’t it?” Jim said ironically.
“Who are you working for?” she asked.
“That’s why.” She said.
“Why what?” Jim asked.
“He hates Frenchmen.”
“But we ain’t Frenchmen.” Dave pointed out.
“Who hired him to be your guide?”
“The Frenchman,” Jim said.
“Do I have your permission to contact Cheb on your behalf?” she asked.
“Be our guests,” Dave said. “We don’t have many choices and if you can get our gear back, there’ll be a nice bonus for you.”
“How much?” she asked.
“Two-thousand,” Dave replied.
“I’ll be back,” Cleopatra said. Then she went outside and hailed a cab.
“Ain’t that a hoot?” Jim growled. “This guy stole our stuff and left us to slow-cook to death in a cave. Now this honey blonde co-ed from Salt Lake City’s gonna get our stuff back? This is weirder than a talking snake.”
Dave shook his head and ordered a warm beer. Two hours later, Cleopatra and Cheb Cheriet walked into the restaurant. Cheriet greeted them with a sheepish grin and told them he had their luggage and gear outside in the van.
Then he proceeded to apologize profusely for his actions the day before. He ended his speech with an explanation of his hatred of Frenchmen, “Frenchmen are pigs! They murdered my parents and my sister during the revolution. They deserve to die horrible deaths.”
“You wouldn’t like Alain Binoche,” Jim said.
“Would that he had come in your places!” Cheriet exclaimed as he banged his fist on the table.
“When he hired you, did Binoche tell you what he wanted you to do?”
“Binoche didn’t hire me. He called the national police headquarters and told them he needed an interpreter for two men who would arrive by plane from Oran.”
“Binoche was kind of short on details,” Dave said. “What we needed was an interpreter and a guide. We were sent to contact Larbi Aama Tahar M’hidi at his camp near Mount Tahat in the Ahaggar Mountains.”
Cheriet threw up his hands in amazement. “Does he want you to visit the Gates of Hell also? He has sent you into the jaws of the Beast. Aama Tahar is a devil! Even the government is afraid of him.”
“I’ve met with devils before,” Dave said. “We want to visit his camp.”
Cheriet stared at Dave in disbelief. Then he wiped the sweat off his forehead and stared at the floor for a few minutes.
“I will do it, but you must pay me more than that pitiful interpreter’s fee.”
Excerpt From Chapter Six of Volume Two
Papua New Guinea
(Tim Whealton and Jerrel Neuhaus)
Daylight came quickly. They woke up to the smell of coffee brewing. Each thought one of the others had gotten up early and started coffee. When Tim looked toward the fire, he saw an unfamiliar figure tending the fire.
“Who are you?” he asked.
“Who are you?” the stranger replied.
Rough heard the exchange and came quickly out of his sleeping bag. “This is our camp,” he said firmly.
The stranger stood up and faced Rough. “I am but a lost and lonely wanderer seeking companionship, solace and safety in a world gone mad.”
“We’re all like that,” Rough replied unmoved by the eloquent entreaty. “Why are you in our camp?”
“I am lost.”
“Where are you from?”
“I don’t know.”
By then Tim and Jerrel were up and dressed. “What’s your name?” Tim asked.
“Willie,” the stranger replied.
“You got a last name?” Jerrel asked.
“Willie Wanderer? Is this some kind of joke?” Rough asked.
“No. I do not joke.”
“Never heard of you,” Rough said.
“How about Bobby Boring?” the stranger asked.
“Never heard of him either,” Rough replied. “Who’s he and why would I know him?”
“Because I was Bobby Boring last week. This week I’m Willie Wanderer because I’m supposed to travel with you.”
Rough became exasperated. “Are you daft? Who are you and where did you come from?”
“I don’t remember.”
“How long have you been here?”
“I don’t know. I know I was somewhere else a long time ago but I don’t remember where.”
By now they realized the stranger was “a bit daft” as Rough would put it.
“He looks harmless,” Tim said. “We could let him stay and drop him off at Lae when we return.”
“He’ll be in the way,” Rough replied.
“Where are you going?” the stranger asked.
“The Mount Wilhelm area,” Jerrel replied.
“Why do you want to go there?” the stranger inquired. “Is this a search for self-fulfillment?”
Tim removed the tracing of the plant they were seeking and showed it to the stranger. “We’re looking for this.”
“Oh, that!” the stranger exclaimed. “I have seen it.”
“You’ve seen a plant like this?” Rough asked.
“Yes. It was on the eastern slope of Mount Wilhelm.”
“Can you guide us to it?” Tim asked.
“I know the way. If you let me go with you, I can.”
“How come you know all about the location of strange plants but don’t know who you are,” Jerrel asked suspiciously.
“I know who I am. I just don’t know my name.”
“What does the plant look like?” Tim asked.
“It is huge. It is ugly.”
“How tall,” Jerrel asked. “This sketch makes it look about two feet tall.”
“It is thirty or forty feet tall and over ten feet in diameter.”
“What color is it,” Rough asked.
“A greenish purple. A clear liquid flows down its sides into a trench that goes all around it.”
“Did you touch it?” Tim asked.
“No. I was afraid.”
“Because bones of dead people and animals are piled all around it and I was afraid to climb over the piles of bones.”
“What is this plant called,” Rough asked.
“The local tribesmen call it the yewnvrfyltsewgoud.”
After that revelation, Rough motioned for Tim and Jerrel to follow him behind the Wagoneer.
“He’s a loony chap,” he said, “but I think we ought to let him tag along with us because he knows where the plant is.”
“Makes sense to me,” Jerrel agreed.
Tim nodded his agreement.
After they returned to the campfire, Rough said, “Willy, since you’re familiar with the plant we want to locate, you’re welcome to travel with us.”
“Then I must inform you that I am logorrheic,” Willy announced as if to a crowd.
“What in the heck is logorrheic?” Tim asked.
“It means he’s excessively talkative,” Rough replied.
“Why didn’t he just say that?” Jerrel asked.
Willy replied, “That’s what I was trying to say but I couldn’t think of it. Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory has abandoned me.”
“This is gonna be one long trip,” Jerrel observed.
Rough had acquired some eggs when he bartered for the chickens so they had eggs and fried sweet potatoes for breakfast. It started to rain before they broke camp and they had to work fast to keep their sleeping bags dry.
After they were on the highway, Tim asked, “How much does it rain here?”
“About 400 inches a year,” Rough replied.
Jerrel did a quick mental calculation. “That’s over thirty-feet of water.”
Willy spoke up. “Did you know that when you’re thinking about something you forget to talk? There must be a moral there but I can’t think of one.”
“Maybe there isn’t a moral,” Tim replied.
“Everything’s got a moral,” Willy answered. “All you have to do is find it.”
“How old are you, Willy,” Jerrel asked.
“I don’t know,” Willy replied.
Tim laughed. “That’s funny. I’ve never met anybody who didn’t worry about their age.”
“The world is a comedy to him who thinks,” Willy replied, “It is a tragedy to him who feels.”
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings,” Tim said.
“It is okay. I am not offended. I never feel offense. Feelings come naturally, thought does not. Contemplation is the pinnacle of existence because it is the loftiest possible activity of a rational mind,” Willy said authoritatively.
“So you never celebrate your birthday?” Jerrel asked.
“I deplore birthday celebrations because I never have any. I celebrate un-birth days because there are 364 un-birthdays in a year and getting presents and having parties 364 times is more desirable than getting them just one day a year.”
“What you say is weird but it’s oddly logical,” Tim said. “How in the world did you end up here?”
“I don’t know. I have no desire or motive in being anywhere. I discovered long ago that the French Riviera is a sunny place for shady people.”
“You are an unusual man, Willy,” Tim observed. “Most men would go mad in your circumstances.”
“You could say it was a necessity for me to be with you today, or, you could call it God’s will, or God’s punishment. These are merely names for the unavoidable results of our own actions, the results of which we bring upon ourselves.” He paused as if he was thinking. Then he added, “This may not always be the case since we must also consider the irrational, chance or mere inexplicable coincidence; the unpredictable in an otherwise predictable world. But never fear. Cosmic justice, however long delayed and hard to understand, is always satisfied in the end.”
Then Willy lapsed into silence as they drove along the rough road in a pounding downpour.