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Battle born
Brown, Dale, 1956-
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Publication Information:
New York : Bantam Books, 1999.
Physical Description:
397 pages ; 25 cm
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Author of an extraordinary string ofNew York Timesbestselling novels, Dale Brown is the undisputed master of the aerial techno-thriller. Filled with explosive adventure, unforgettable characters, and authentic technology set against political scenarios so real they often anticipate world events, each of Dale Brown's novels is a major event. Now he returns to the airspace only he can truly call his own, in a blockbuster novel about a world on the brink of World War III and a new generation of brash young heroes... Patrick McLanahan is back. The veteran navigator-bombardier and brigadier general in the U.S. Air Force has been sent to a B-1B Lancer unit in Nevada to develop and train a tactical strike unit designed to seek out and destroy enemy missiles. He has his pick of the most aggressive Type A personalities in the flying game, though it may take years to pull this bunch of mavericks together to fight as a team. Then time runs out. The fragile peace in Asia is shattered when what was supposed to be a joint U.S.-Japan-South Korea mock bombing raid turns lethal. Instead of hewing to the script, South Korean fighter-bombers streak north to destroy several North Korean command-and-control, special forces, and secret police centers in support of a massive people's revolt against the Communist regime. To the world's surprise, the raids are a complete success. The North Korean military surrenders. The borders are thrown wide open and the United Republic of Korea is born. But this United Korea is also the world's newest nuclear power. It refuses to destroy thousands of captured nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, which it sees as potent protection against the massive threat of China to its north. Vowing never again to be anyone's puppet, it is ready to defy the United States and even attack China in order to preserve its sovereignty. Thus begins a conflict that threatens to embroil all of Asia. Enter McLanahan's raw, audacious team. Sent into the fray both to protect United Korea and to stop it from touching off World War III, Patrick's small but potent hunter-killer bomber force has the world's newest, most powerful nonnuclear weapon at its disposal--if its aces ever stop fighting each other long enough to start fighting the enemy.... Relentlessly paced, filled with the you-are-there feel of supersonic flight,Battle Borndelivers the technology, action, and drama that Brown fans savor. It is this marvelous storyteller's most exciting and satisfying novel yet.

Author Notes

Dale Brown was born on November 2, 1956 in Buffalo, New York. He graduated from Penn State University with a degree in Western European history, where he wrote a column for the University's newspaper, The Daily Collegian. He went on to freelance for computer magazines, such as Run and Compute's Gazette for Commodore.

He received an Air Force Commission in 1978 and while there, he received the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Combat Crew Medal and a Marksmanship Ribbon. He also wrote for several military base newspapers while he was still enlisted. He left the Air Force as a Captain and remains a multi-engine and instrument rated private pilot. He is a director and volunteer pilot for AirLifeLine, a nonprofit national medical transport for needy people who cannot afford to travel for medical attention.

He is the author of several series including Dale Brown's Dreamland and, Patrick McLanahan. Dreamland. His title Tiger's Claw made The New York Times Best Seller List for 2012.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Brown's jet jockey hero Patrick McLanahan leads a squadron of B-1 bombers into combat over Korea, where a low-intensity nuclear ballistic missile war has broken out. McLanahan saw action in the East Asian theater while bucking a B-52 in Fatal Terrain (1997), and this sequel operates on the fantasy that South Korea starts and wins a war against the North, after riding out a few retaliatory atomic counterattacks. As war booty, the South Koreans captured lots of Chinese nukes, and the Chinese want them back so they invade the now-unified Korea. At this stage of implausibility, McLanahan enters the fray to avert World War III. Hitherto, he had been flying around Nevada (state motto: Battle Born), working in cahoots with a buddy in the air force's wonder weapons unit to establish a special B-1 force. Brown leaves no acronym unsaid in telling the weapons a B-1 carries, its avionics, its targeting gear, and its flying tactics in a fight. The characters, barely developed beyond references to their race, gender, and combat exploits in previous Brown yarns, are consequently reduced to autopiloting adjuncts to their plane--but when has that generic defect of techno-thrillers ever dulled the interest of their aficionados? The zanier the action the better, and here, Brown constructs a dogfighting melee laced by scads of air-to-air missiles, after which McLanahan and surviving crew return to base to await the next summons to battle. Brown fires off enough ordnance to retain his established audience's attention. --Gilbert Taylor

Publisher's Weekly Review

Last spotted on a singlehanded crusade against international terrorism in The Tin Man, veteran hero Patrick McLanahan, now a one-star general, is back at the head of a U.S. Air Force team in this 12th military techno-thriller from the ever-popular Brown. The general's crewÄa motley gang of rule-breaking hotheads from the Nevada Air National GuardÄis unorthodox, but desperate times call for desperate measures. It's April 2000, and a starving North Korean pilot has just tried to take out Seoul with nuclear weapons. This leads to the Second Korean War, as American flyers help their South Korean allies conquer a seriously weakened enemy. But a new united Korea is soon threatening China, and only McLanahan's team, flying Megafortress bombers equipped with sophisticated antiballistic missiles, can prevent nuclear conflict. Sidestepping obstructive air force bureaucracy and quelling the feuds smoldering among his pilots, McLanahan takes on the role of a renegade elder statesman in his latest foray, leaving most of the flying to his Nevada team, headed by Rinc "Rodeo" Seaver and Rinc's clandestine lover and commanding officer, Rebecca Furness. Seaver, accused of causing the deaths of three officers in a training maneuver, has a lot to prove, and it is his story that drives the personal subplot. Brown's strongest suit, however, has always been his ability to generate tension through high-wire aeronautics and technological breakthroughs, and in this tale he flourishes an ace: top secret plasma-yield warheads, subatomic weapons that silently vaporize their targets. His dialogue is as stilted as ever, and the acronym count as high, but Brown's poetry lies in his exhaustive tribute to the machinery of war, and fans will thrill to it once again in this solid addition to the series. Agent, Robert Gottlieb at William Morris. Simultaneous BDD audio. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Aerial warfare expert Patrick MacLanahan is back and, as in Fatal Terrain, he's battling his cowardly military superiors, egotistical politicians in Washington, and just about everyone else on the globe. He must risk his career and his life to deploy newly developed Air Force technology and nullify the threat of global thermonuclear war (posed by a conflict between China and Korea). Longtime action-fiction writer Brown has created a world dominated by paranoia, military concerns, and the hardware of modern war. His characters have the annoying habit of repeating and contradicting themselves. They also speak at great length about their fondness for weaponryÄpages of description and detail about aircraft and ordinance slow down an otherwise fast-moving if predictable story. Public libraries with Brown fans will want to purchase this title, but there is little reason for anyone else to do so. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 8/99.]ÄPatrick J. Wall, University City P.L., MO (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



MILITARY TECHNOLOGY SUBCOMMITTEE, SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE, RAYBURN BUILDING, WASHINGTON, D.C. "I hoped we'd never be facing this question again in my lifetime," the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said, his voice serious. "But here it is. Looks like the devil's goin' to the prom, and we're praying he don't ask us to dance." The main part of the morning's classified, closed hearing had already concluded; the scientists and comptrollers had packed up their charts and spreadsheets, leaving only the subcommittee members, several general officers, and a few aides. This was the open debate portion of the session, a "chat session" where everything was fair game and the uniformed officers had a last chance to persuade. It was usually more casual and more freewheeling than formal subcommittee testimony, and it gave all involved a chance to vent their frustrations and opinions. "I'd say, Senator," Air Force General Victor G. Hayes, the chief of staff of the Air Force, responded, "that we've got no choice but to dance with that devil. The question is, can we keep him from only tipping over the punch bowl, or is he going to burn down the whole school gymnasium if we don't do something?" "You characterize the attacks on Taiwan and Guam as just a tipped-over punch bowl, General?" a committee member asked. General Hayes shook his head and wiped the smile from his face. He knew better than to try to get too chummy or casual with these committee members, no matter how plain-talking and down-home they sometimes sounded. This was the first time Victor "Jester" Hayes had testified before any committee in Congress. Although the Pentagon gave "charm school" classes and seminars to high-ranking officers on how to handle reporters, dignitaries, and civilians in a variety of circumstances, including giving testimony before Congress, it was simply impossible to fully prepare for ordeals like this. He did not feel comfortable here, and he was afraid it showed. Big-time. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Navy Admiral George Balboa, was seated beside Hayes. The other members of the Joint Chiefs--General William Marshall, Army chief of staff; Admiral Wayne Connor, chief of Naval Operations; and General Peter Traherne, commandant of the Marine Corps, along with senior deputies and aides--were also seated at the table facing the subcommittee. Out of the corner of his eye, Hayes could see the barely disguised amusement on some of their faces. Balboa in particular seemed to be enjoying the sight of Hayes roasting a little in front of a congressional subcommittee. Screw 'em all, Hayes told himself resolutely. I'm a fighter pilot. I'm an aerial assassin. These congressmen may be high-ranking elected government officials, but they wouldn't understand a good fight if it kicked them in the ass. Be yourself. Show 'em what you got. As far as Balboa was concerned--well, he was a weasel, and everyone knew it. He was virtually powerless, allowed to keep his position by the good graces of powerful opposition party members in Congress even though he publicly ambushed his Commander in Chief. "Forgive me for trying to take some of the doomsday tone out of this discussion, Senator," Hayes responded. "After two days of secret testimony on some of the new 'black' weapons programs we've included in the Air Force budget, I thought it might be time for a little break. But I assure you: this is a very serious matter. The future of the United States Air Force, and indeed the fate of our military forces and the nation itself, will be determined in the next several years by the decisions we make today. "I characterize the ballistic missile attacks on Taiwan and Guam by the People's Republic of China as a repudiation of thirty years of arms reduction efforts and a warning to the United States armed forces that we must develop a multilayered antimissile defense system immediately. We bargained away our antimissile capabilities in the 1970s, believing that nonproliferation would lead to peace. Now, in the face of renewed aggression, rearmament, terrorism, and the spread of small-scale and black-market weapons of mass destruction, I feel we have no choice but to rebuild our defensive forces. The days of believing that our conventional precision war-fighting capability obviated and obsoleted decades of nuclear warfare strategy and technology are history." "Apparently so," one committee member said ruefully. "I for one am mystified and angry about this waste of time, money, and resources. We've spent hundreds of billions of dollars on these new "smart' weapons, and now you're saying they won't protect us?" "I'm saying that the rules are changing, Senator," General Hayes said earnestly, "and we must change with them. "We gave away our defensive capability because we kept a large, strong offensive force, including nuclear deterrent forces. We then dismantled those deterrent forces when the threat from other superpowers diminished. Now the threat is back, but we have neither defensive nor deterrent forces in place. That leaves us vulnerable to criticism at best and attack at worst. The China incident is a perfect example." "That's all fine and good, General, but these budget numbers are staggering, and the path you want to embark on here reminds me of the nuclear nightmare times of Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Reagan," the senator went on, motioning to his staff report. "You're asking for billions more on some truly horrifying programs, like antiballistic missile lasers, space-based lasers, and these so-called plasma-yield weapons. What's going on, General? Is the Air Force so desperate for a mission right now that you'll even go back to "mutually assured destruction' doctrines of the Cold War?" "Members of the committee, I asked Secretary of Defense Chastain and Secretary of the Air Force Mortonson to give the Air Force a budget for the deployment of a new class of weapons not to shock or galvanize the Congress, but because I truly believe the time has long passed for us to be thinking about this kind of war fighting," General Hayes went on. "China's recent nuclear attacks on Taiwan; its suspected nuclear sabotage of the aircraft carrier USS Independence in Yokosuka Harbor; and its shocking, unprovoked, and horrific ballistic missile nuclear attack on the island of Guam, which all but wiped Anderson Air Force Base off the map three years ago, all are a warning to the United States." "It's a warning, all right," another senator offered. "But it seems more a warning to avoid stepping up to the edge of that slippery slope. Do we want to start another nuclear arms race?" It seemed as if most folks in America had all but forgotten what had happened only three years ago, Hayes thought grimly. In 1997, just before their "Reunification Day" celebrations, the People's Republic of China launched a small-scale nuclear assault on Taiwan, which had just declared full independence and sovereignty from the mainland. Several Taiwanese military bases were decimated; over fifty thousand persons lost their lives. At the same time, a nuclear explosion in Yokosuka Harbor outside Tokyo destroyed several American warships, including the soon-to-be-retired aircraft carrier USS Independence. China was accused of that unconscionable act, but the actual culprit was never positively identified. When the United States tried to halt the PRC's attacks against Taiwan, China retaliated by launching a nuclear ballistic missile attack on the island of Guam, shutting down two important American military bases in the Pacific. The reverberations of that fateful summer of 1997 were still being felt. Japan had closed down all U.S. military bases on their soil and had only recently begun allowing some limited access to U.S. warships--provisioning and humanitarian shore leave only, with ships at anchor in the harbor, not in port, and no weapons transfers in their territorial waters. South Korea was permitting only routine provisioning and shore leave--they were allowing no weapons transfers within five miles of shore and prohibited staging military operations from their ports. It was the same for most ports of call in the western Pacific. American naval presence in the Pacific was almost nil. And America's response to China's attacks was . . . silence. Except for one massive joint Air Force/Navy defensive air armada around Taiwan that all but destroyed China's Air Force, and an isolated but highly effective series of air raids inside China--largely attributed to American stealth bombers, aided by Taiwanese fighters--the Americans had not retaliated. It was world condemnation alone that eventually forced China to abandon its plan to force Taiwan back into its sphere of influence. "I'm concerned about the path Russia, Japan, and North Korea are taking in the wake of the economic collapse in Asia and the conflict in the Balkans," Hayes went on. "Russia appears to be back in the hands of hard-liners and neo-Communists. Food riots in North Korea have led to the slaughter of thousands of civilians by military forces foraging for food. Japan has isolated us out of the Pacific and is proceeding with plans to remilitarize, all in an apparent attempt to shore up confidence in its government. I don't believe the United States sparked this return to the specter of the Cold War, but we must be prepared to deal with it." "We are all shocked and horrified about all those events as well, General," the senator pointed out, "and we agree with the President that we must be better prepared for radical changes in the political climate. But this . . . this buildup of such powerful weapons that you're asking for seems to be an overreaction. What you are proposing goes far beyond what any of us see as a measured response to world events." General Hayes swallowed hard. This was turning into a much harder sell than he had expected. While the world slowly went back to an uneasy, suspicious peace, President Kevin Martindale was roundly criticized for his inaction. Although China was stopped and an all-out nuclear conflict was averted, many Americans wanted someone to pay a bigger price for the hundreds of thousands who had died on Taiwan, Guam, and onboard the four Navy warships destroyed in Yokosuka Harbor. The hawkish President was slammed in the press for abandoning the capital onboard Air Force One during the attacks on Taiwan, while failing to use most of the military power he had spent his entire career in Washington trying to build up. No one could say precisely what Martindale should have done, but everyone was convinced he should have done something more. Excerpted from Battle Born by Dale Brown All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.