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Authors: David Hagberg

Joshua`s Hammer

Joshua's Hammer by David Hagberg

"Hagberg is famous for predicting in his novels tomorrows headlines, but where did he learn so much about Osama bin Laden? He not only predicted bin Laden's cancer, he describes his motives, conflicts, and criminal pathology in such detail that Hagberg either was there and knew the man--or he was helping himself to top secret bin Laden files." --Junius Podrug, author of Presumed Guilty and

Frost of Heaven

"I've always felt that Hagberg's McGarvey could whip James Bond, Jack Ryan, Jack Grafton and Dirk Pitt any day of the week, but what really made Joshua's Hammer stand out was Hagberg's portrait of Osama bin Laden. I was in awe as I read through McGarvey's and bin Laden's first meeting. With its accelerated tempo, nail-biting characters, and phenomenal characters, Joshua's Hammer should fly off the shelves as fast as the best of Clancy and Coonts." --R. J. Pineiro author of 01-01-00

"David Hagberg runs in the same fast, high-tech track as Clancy and his gun-no colleagues, with lots of war games, fancy weapons, and much male bonding."

--New York Daily News

"David Hagberg is one of the more interesting writers of thrillers in the new millennium. His work rivals that of Clancy, Koontz and Cornwall. With Joshua's Hammer, he probably surpassed these notable authors. The heart thumping story line is a chilling thriller that gets inside the heart and soul of its cast, humanizing a terrorist and CIA operative. Mister Hagberg turns the genre into his personal playing field with this realistic drama that never eases up on the throttle." --The Midwest Book Review

"Hagberg, a maven of mach speed mayhem, intricately moves pieces around his global chessboard, unit! many bodies, plane crashes, and running sea battles later, action hero McGarvey wipes out the bad guys. Hagberg's long yarns always muscle their way to the top of the techno intrigue-warfare genre." --Booklist

NOVELS BY DAVID HAG BERG

Twister

The Capsule

Last Come the Children

Heartland

Without Honor*

Countdown*

Crossfire*

Critical Mass*

Desert Fire

Eden's Gate

High Flight*

Assassin*

White House*

Joshua's Hammer*

(Kirk McGarvey adventures)

WRITING AS SEAN FLANNERY

The Kremlin Conspiracy

Eagles Fly

The Trinity Factor

The Hollow Men

Broken Idols

False Prophets

Gulag

Moscow Crossing

The Zebra Network

Crossed Swords

Counterstrike Moving Targets Winner Take All*

Kilo Option*

Achilles' Heel*

(Bill Lane adventures)

JOSHUA'S HAMMER

DAVID HAG BERG

TOR

ATOM DOHERTY ASSOCIATES BOOK

NEW YORK

NOTE: If you purchased this book without a cover you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as "unsold and destroyed" to the publisher, and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this "stripped book."

This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are either products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously.

JOSHUA'S HAMMER

Copyright 2000 by David Hagberg

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book, or portions thereof, in any form.

A Tor Book

Published by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC

175 Fifth Avenue

New York, NY 10010

www.tor.com

Tor is a registered trademark of Tom Doherty Associates, LLC.

ISBN: 0-812-54439-0

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 00-028803

First edition: August 2000

First mass market edition: June 2001

Printed in the United States of America This book is for Lorrel.

Special thanks to all my friends at I.R.N.B. You guys are awesome!

My Father's Daughter

I am my father's daughter... with this armor alone, I am incredible.

Protected in the shadow of wisdom, I grew strong of mind. Guided through the colors of experience, I grew strong of heart.

Inquiring with forensic precision, I grew curious and able. Expounding into understanding, I grew tolerant and open.

All my fears laid out on the table, I grew confident of love. Flaws and foibles brought to light I grew to laugh easily.

I am my father's daughter... with this armor, I am invincible.

--GINA HAGBERGBALLINGER

THE OPENING MOVES

SUMMER

Behold a pale horse; and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him.

REVELATIONS 6:8

CHAPTER ONE

CIA Headquarters Langley, Virginia

Weary and worried Alien Trumble got off the elevator on the seventh floor where he had to submit to a third and final security check. There wasn't a lot of activity in the corridors, but then there usually wasn't except during shift changes. But from the moment he'd entered the front doors he was struck by the underlying tension here, which did nothing to dispel his gloomy mood. What he was bringing to the deputy director of Operations wasn't going to help much; not the CIA and certainly not himself.

The civilian security officer handed Trumble's pass and ID back. "Just down the hall to the right, sir."

"Yes, thank you, I've been here before," Trumble said. But not often and not lately. Most of his seventeen years on the payroll had been spent in foreign postings, most recently as chief of station Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. But it was time to come home now, maybe. His life was beginning to unravel and he didn't really know why or what to do about it, except that a change of scenery might help.

He was an unremarkable looking man of medium height with thinning light brown hair, a slightly stoop-shouldered gait, and puffy features from living for too long in the dry desert climates of the Middle East. But he was an Arabic expert and that's where the work was happening. In fact because he had lived for so long in-country he probably knew more about the region than all but the most senior

analysts here. Certainly enough to know that very large trouble was brewing.

But until now he'd also considered himself to be a very lucky man. He had a job that challenged him, a wife who loved him and two children who thought the sun rose and set on their father. All of it going down the toilet. In the past year Gloria had become distant, spending most of her free time watching reruns of American television sitcoms. It was as if she had forgotten what home was like and she was trying to remind herself. Their sixteen-year-old daughter Julie had experimented dying her hair first orange, then pink, but their Saudi neighbors had begun to complain and Trumble had to put his foot down. Julie was still resentful, and she moped around the house speaking only when spoken to, and then in monosyllables. In their twelve-year-old son Daniel's estimation it was time to go home. Most of the people they'd met over there were okay, but they didn't really like Americans, and he was getting tired of it. He wanted a Mickey D's, a real mall, Little League baseball and some new video games. Never mind that he had been born in Baghdad, and had never spent much time in the States. He missed it and he wanted to go home.

The deputy director of Operation's suite was at the end of the hall from the director's office. Trumble hurried down the broad, carpeted corridor, and went inside not at all sure exactly what sort of a message he was bringing home with him. He was the Arab expert, but this time he was out of his depth and he knew it.

"Good afternoon, Mr. Trumble," the DDO's secretary, Dahlia Swanfeld said pleasantly.

"Hello," Trumble smiled, trying to hide his nervousness. "I have a two o'clock with the deputy director." It was one minute before that time now.

"He's on the phone. Shouldn't be long. Would you like some coffee?"

"No thanks. We had a late lunch, McDonald's."

Ms. Swanfeld smiled and nodded. Though she'd never married--the CIA was her life--she sometimes acted like

a kindly grandmother. Trumble could feel genuine interest and good cheer radiating from her like warmth from a wood stove on a cold winter's day. He couldn't remember the last time he felt so good.

"How is your family? Happy to be on vacation and back home?"

"It's going to be hard to drag them back to Riyadh. But I mink we might be coming home again for Christmas. My folks are insisting on it, and it's hard to say no to your mother, wife and kids. I'm sorta outnumbered."

"I'd like to meet them." The light on her telephone console blinked out and she picked up the phone. "Mr. Trumble is here." She looked up. "You may go in now."

Kirk McGarvey, his jacket off, his tie loose and his shirtsleeves rolled up, was pulling a thick, red-striped file folder from one of the piles on his large desk. Stacks of newspapers and news magazines from a dozen different countries were piled neatly on the floor around him, and a television monitor, the sound very low, was tuned to CNN. The computer monitor on a credenza next to him was on, but showed only the CIA's seal.

"Nice to see you back in one piece." McGarvey got up, came around the desk and shook Trumble's hand. "Gloria and the kids okay?"

"They're out shopping. We need vacation clothes, but God only knows what they're going to buy for me. Whatever it is, though, I'm going to have to wear it and like it."

At fifty, Kirk McGarvey had worked for the CIA for twenty-five years and kept himself in superb condition by a strict physical regimen that included running and swimming everyday and working out at his fencing club whenever he could. He was a hard man, who until he'd taken over the job as DDO twelve months ago, had been the best field officer the CIA had ever known. The fact that he had been a shooter and had killed in the line of duty was widely known. What wasn't so well known, however, was the number of people he had killed, or the tremendous physical and mental toll the job had taken on him and his family.

He was six feet tall, two hundred pounds and built like a rugby player with not an ounce of visible fat on his broad shouldered frame. But he was a Voltaire scholar and that curious combination--killer, academic and now administrator-seemed to fit him well. He exuded self-confidence, intelligence, honesty and above all dependability. He had never let one of his people down, he had never held anything back from them, unless in his estimation they didn't have the need to know, and he was surrounded by a staff of very bright, very dedicated friends who excelled under his direction. There was a comfort zone around him. When you were with McGarvey you knew that everything would turn out okay. All hell might break loose, but you'd come out of it. He'd make sure of it.

His face was wide, handsome and friendly, unless he was being lied to. His motto was: Don't bullshit the troops; tell it like it is, or don't tell it at all.

"Do you want a beer?" McGarvey motioned toward the couch, chairs and low table by the window.

"Sounds good." Trumble set his attache" case on the coffee table, dialed the combination and took out his report contained in a thin file folder.

McGarvey got a couple of beers from a small fridge in his credenza and brought them back. He took the report. "Not much here."

"You might want to take a quick read, Mr. McGarvey."

"Mac. But I'd rather hear it from you first. What are our chances?"

"Osama bin Laden is not a good man," Trumble said, opening his beer. His hand shook a little and McGarvey noticed it. "He might be crazy."

"What'd he say to you? What does he want?" McGarvey asked, giving his C.O.S his entire attention.

"Well, he says he wants to talk to someone in authority. Someone higher than a chief of station. It's a good possibility that he means to assassinate whoever we send to him, providing he thinks that person is a worthy enough target." Trumble had made the arrangements to meet with the Saudi

multimillionaire terrorist in Khartoum, at McGarvey's request. No U.S. intelligence officer had been able to get anywhere near him or his business interests in the Sudan, or his camps in the mountains of Afghanistan, but McGarvey had a hunch that he might be ready to talk. The bad part was that a lot of people here in Washington and in London believed that bin Laden was getting ready to make another spectacular strike again, but no one knew when, where or how. In 1998 more than five thousand people had been hurt and more than two hundred killed when a bomb exploded outside the U.S. embassy in Nairobi. There'd been many other attacks with loss of lives, but Nairobi had been the biggest to date. The general consensus was that there would be a next time and it would be even worse.

"They took my tape recorder before they brought me up to see him, but it really wouldn't have mattered if I'd been able to keep it, because I wasn't with him for more than two or three minutes. He told me that I was the face of evil and that if I were to die then and there, no one would shed a tear."

McGarvey sat back, a dark, calculating expression in his gray-green eyes. Bin Laden hadn't balked at the meeting, in fact he'd agreed to it almost too readily, which meant he wanted something, unless he was stalling for time. It was a possibility they would have to consider. Bin Laden could be keeping them talking while he was getting ready to strike. With the latest information McGarvey had seen and the reason he'd sent Trumble orders to set up the meeting, this time when bin Laden struck it would be worse than Nairobi, much worse than anything they could imagine.

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