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The Tasseled Warrior
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ISBN-10: 1-55404-136-8
Genre: Fiction/Adventure/Suspense/Thriller
eBook Length: 186 Pages
Published: April 2004

From inside the flap

Hate was in his genes and ever since his ancestor Karl Toxopeus had fought the Zulu horde and endured British occupation and their concentration camps, he and Boer ancestors hated the British and anyone remotely associated with them. Becoming a German spy and going to America to uncover the truth about the Manhattan Project was his way to ensure that Germany would win the war and the British would lose it. His discovery in America showed that once the Americans had joined the British after Pearl Harbour, America had turned into a huge industrial giant producing planes, ships, bombs and anything that would help them defeat Hitler and his Nazis.

Hiding in America even after the Germans were defeated didn?t seem out of character, he switched to another fatherland, not Germany but the Soviet Union and from America he provided more top-secret information than any other spy or mole inside America. Only once had someone nearly caught him, Alex Harman, an FBI agent had paid with his life when he made a mistake. Now that manís son, a wet behind the ears FBI agent and a young girl were snooping and had picked up his trail. Well, he had spent forty years avoiding detection and he could deal with Joseph Harman and his girl friend Leigh Morewood. Just because his hair was white Van Loon didn?t hesitate when his life was in danger; pulling a trigger and removing an irritation was something that was necessary. He would never be caught.

The Tasseled Warrior (Excerpt)

The Tasseled Warrior

 The bark of the rifles and revolvers was less frequent now. It was the drone, the deep humming chant and the sound of 10,000 pairs of Zulu feet that filled the air. Those who faced the black horde knew they were about to be destroyed. The last thing each man heard was the wobbly sound of a spear with its blade of death as it sped through the ineffective barrier.

The view to the lake was extraordinary and perhaps the building was put there for that purpose. Its thick rounded logs fit into the landscape of northern white pine and black spruce on the crag of the Canadian Shield. The stonework was exemplary. Altogether the mansion in its isolated location was breathtaking and not something anyone would expect to find. Why it was there was part of the mystery that surrounded the owner, the retired Brigadier William Blake.

 The mansion had stood for 20 years and could continue to stand for another 50 or more, ignoring the elements, the storms and blizzards that swept up the lake in the various seasons. The massive chimney took three stonemasons two months to build. Smoke curling up towards the heavens signaled that someone, perhaps the man who came a decade after the war, was in residence.

The nearest community was 11 miles south. It had no grand plans or famous people. The folk in Harlequin had no desire to attract any notice from the outside world. They were content to have a pace and way of living that city dwellers might find mind numbing in its slow and quiet. If you asked all of the150 residents about the mansion on the crag overlooking Wapikin Lake, you could get150 different answers. Some thought the owner was one of those war shocked soldiers who never recovered from the horrors of war. Others thought he was a retired industrialist who needed a country retreat. Some thought he was a hermit, a recluse who had ghosts that were hidden within the thick log walls. Others said they had never seen the man and if he wanted to keep to himself it was fine with them. Yet all had come up the lake in canoes or boats to see the new house in the area and wonder what money could do.

Chapter One

The community of Beach Haven was a resort town on the New Jersey Shore, popular for decades with families who lived near the sea and those who came to it for their summer vacations, but it was known for something else.

Ray Vansant the Captain of the USS Viscount looked from his chair over the gray surface of an ocean that had become the scene of death and destruction like no other in the history of war at sea. He was on U-boat patrol and he and the two other consorts were looking for the U-boat that had sunk two merchantmen just off their New England coast the previous day. These sharks of the sea had been effective in sinking hundreds of ships and had nearly starved Britain into defeat. If it weren?t for the bravery and tenacity of both the merchant navy and the overworked crews of frigates, corvettes and other ships of the Canadian, American and British navies, Hitler could have been sitting in Buckingham Palace.

 Vansant despised the killers who cared nothing for the lives of the women and children who had been on board some of the ships attacked. What had these innocents done to harm Germany? He had respect for the sea, but the utmost hatred for U-boats and sharks. Sharks were biologically elegant, if you could get past the steely eyes and rows of needlelike teeth, but if he every returned to university and took up his study of biology he?d still hate these predators. The U-boat was the manmade equivalent and his job was to destroy any that came under his guns.

 His first officer interrupted his daydream or was it a nightmare.

 "Sir, sonar has a contact!"

 "Thank you, Cliff. Signal the Bosford and the Gryson that we have a contact and are attacking. We can?t let this bastard get away."

 Cliff Roberts had once wanted to become an actor. Instead he was in a role that was real and filled with death. He had seen the look in the old manís eyes. The captain was one of the career officers with more time at sea than he had on shore. But he too hated the enemy. Robertsís family was from both the US and Canada and he had wanted to fight ever since his cousins in Ottawa had signed up in1939. But the U.S. preferred to remain neutral and not be drawn into another European war. Pearl Harbor changed all that. He looked west, 15 miles away was the home of the Captain, Beach Haven. What Roberts didn?t know was that the people in that community and along the shore had been in another battle. Twenty -eight years before in 1916, his Captainís older brother Charles Vansant, was the first victim of an attack that had terrorized the eastern seaboard. He died because of a shark. For Captain Vansant each of the two things gray and deadly, U-boat or shark, was an enemy.  The battle of today had now transformed itself into one where no mercy was given and those men aboard a U-boat no longer had everything going their way. They became the hunted and with the use of small aircraft carriers in the convoys, planes were ready to attack.

 The Captain had learned a lot in two years of war. No longer did he believe the might of the American navy would turn the tide against the Wolf packs, although the killing ground was no longer as fruitful as it had been for the first three years of the war. On the ocean bottom were hundreds of ships with their guts torn out. If all of those ships had reached England and Russia, the war might be over. But there was a new ship coming out of dry dock each day and slowly the pendulum was turning against the Nazi and the madman Hitler, strutting like some peacock. His reign of one thousand years was not going to be that long.

 The first spread of depth charges crashed into the sea. The hedgehog pattern had proven effective with two depth settings. Any submarine caught between their pummeling explosions were either imploded or forced to the surface. But the U-boat commanders were now experts at evading destruction. To survive in a U-boat took skill and guts and those who were the survivors were formidable enemies. Be careful or you turned from hunter to victim with a spread of torpedoes from the stern tubes. No, Captain Vansant had long since learned not to underestimate the enemy. Too many fresh-faced gung-ho commanders learned that it was a foolish and deadly mistake.

 The attack went on for hours. After each attack on the U-boat and each hopeful sign of success, the sonar operator had to scramble to find the target. The other two frigates were useful because they hovered like hounds just waiting for the enemy to make a run in their direction. Then they too would have their own set of depth charges to welcome the killer that was lying somewhere below them. The submarine was lost, then found, and lost again. The technician was a good operator and he worked directly with the bridge to turn to port or starboard as necessary. After 11 attacks there was still no telltale sign of success.

 He could envision the horrors of men trapped in the confines of a wet, cold submarine that was not designed for comfort but to be an effective killer. For many it became the final resting place. Surface ships of the US navy were doing their best to make this U-boat into another iron coffin. The day changed to darkness and the battle went on without respite.

 Below the surface, those on board U-879 were no longer a crew that seemed in control of their minds, let alone their muscles. The air was quickly becoming tainted and the pounding and near misses of the depth charges rocked their world. It was having a profound effect on the crew.

So far, the U-boat Captain had with skill and a little luck had second-guessed the maneuvers of the ship that was on the surface tormenting them and seeking their demise. Two days ago they had been successful in sinking two merchant ships in a world that had turned vicious and was quickly driving the submarines from the sea. Now it was his turn to endure what the navy could throw at them. He wondered if it were the Americans or the Canadians seeking his death. The Canadians with their longer experience might not be as easily fooled. Yet whoever was watching above was no amateur. They had to exhaust their supply of depth charges. Then if he could use the fresh water that was flowing out of Raritan Bay they might still elude death by using it to mask the numbing sonar pings that told the enemy where they were.

 Captain Klaus Koben was not new to the world of submarines; he was old, if 44 was considered old, yet that was ancient in the world where death came to the young as the sudden effects of a depth charge broke a valve or punctured a steel plate. Once that happened the water no longer acted as a barrier protecting them from the ships above but it with thousands of kilograms of pressure twisted and compressed and turned the elegant and deadly shape of a U-boat into useless and lifeless pieces of refuse. The Fuehrer had already given him one of the highest awards, the Oak Leaves and Swords. It was worn only by a few. Most received it posthumously, yet he was among the elite, a hero of the fatherland and he must steady his mind and try to determine what his enemy would do next. A quick thought struck him tomorrow would be Christmas and soon a new year would begin. He wondered if he?d be alive to welcome another year.

 The American crew was still at battle stations at midnight and even with the mugs of coffee or hot chocolate they couldn?t maintain their vigil perhaps Captain Vansant was thinking that the British had the right idea in having rum available. The American ships were dry and he and his men needed more than coffee. He knew that either their enemy had eluded them or was already dead or just playing dead.

 "Signal the Bosford to take our place. They will be fresher and it will give our crew a chance to recharge their batteries."