Cover image for Assured response
Assured response
Weber, Joe, 1945-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Presidio Press/ Ballantine Books, [2004]

Physical Description:
369 pages ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



New threats require new weapons. New villains require new heroes.

The time is the near future. Osama Bin Laden has been succeeded by a generation of even deadlier terrorists who will stop at nothing in their fanatical quest to destroy the United States. Conventional security is no longer enough. Former military pilots Scott Dalton and Jackie Sullivan are the government's newest weapons--operatives so secret that their very existence is denied by the officials who hired them. Armed with the most up-to-date technology and equipment, their mission is to prevent a plan of nuclear holocaust that will begin at the Canadian border and explode in the centers of American power.

They have their work cut out for them.

Foremost among their foes are Saeed Shayhidi, a billionaire Iranian "businessman" and mass murderer, far more sophisticated and sadistic than Bin Laden himself; Khaliq Farkas, a mysterious and ever-elusive terrorist, bearing a barbaric grud≥ and Zheng-Yen Tsung, the powerful Chinese official who may be the mastermind behind it all.

From a shocking sarin attack on a legendary ocean liner to the stalking of chemical plants and oil refineries by aircraft filled with explosives, no attack is too insidious, no symbol of strength and freedom immune. For Dalton and Sullivan, their expertise has never been more necessary--their bravery never more needed--than in a world where unrepentant evil requires an assured response.

From the Hardcover edition.

Author Notes

Joe Weber was a carrier-qualified fighter-attack-trained pilot for the United States Marine Corps. After his release from active duty, Weber flew commercially until 1989. His unique inside knowledge and flair for explosive drama have earned him praise from today's masters of military fiction. His books have appeared on the New York Times , Chicago Tribune , and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists. Weber lives near Pensacola, Florida. Visit the author online at or e-mail him at

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Super top-secret spy duo Scott Dalton and Jackie Sullivan return to battle Islamic terrorists in bestseller Weber's (Primary Target) latest techno-thriller. Charged with capturing the key lieutenant-and his suitcase-sized nuclear weapons-of a terrorist organization that's begun a deadly assault on the U.S., the pair spends much of the novel flying around in an assortment of meticulously described aircraft as attacks on American symbolic and strategic targets mount. President Cord Macklin orders a series of counterattacks, at first setting his sights on Saeed Shayhidi, the multibillionaire shipping magnate-cum-terrorist arch-villain. When that doesn't halt the strikes on America, Macklin aggressively broadens his war on terrorism, promising, "No peace talks, no compromises, no settlements, no bullshit-period!" This post-9/11 rage might prove cathartic for some readers, but it doesn't do much for Weber's plot. The "assured" quality of attack and response drains the book of its suspense, and the violence level rises predictably and inexorably. The one truly surprising element in the novel is an international border dispute that follows a deeply unlikely chain of events. Dalton and Sullivan continue to speak like robots (She: "We are going to Hawaii as soon as possible, right?" He: "No argument from me, but responsibility is the nature of our business"), and they also seem to watch much of the book's action on Fox News. The plot threads that are left hanging-to be picked up in the next installment, presumably-give the book a frustratingly half-finished feel. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Two military pilots take on the next generation of terrorists. From the best-selling author of Primary Target. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



1 DULLES INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT Located twenty-five miles west of Washington, D.C., the sprawling airport and the inhabitants of the busy aerodrome were gearing up for the usual morning rush hour. Airliners and corporate jets were beginning to form long conga lines on the taxiways, while throngs of business passengers and vacationers were being packed into airplanes. Hardly an airline seat was to be had and, having exhausted their patience while clearing security, passengers' tempers were growing shorter by the minute. In the concourse used by British Airways, senior members of the Dulles management team were playing host to Brett Shannon, the U.S. secretary of state. His large entourage of State Department functionaries, Washington dignitaries, and a few close friends were receiving VIP treatment from the airport staff. Enjoying his late fifties, Brettford Earl Shannon had huge jowls that dominated his wide face. A large man, he was partial to tailor-made oversized business suits, brightly colored suspenders, and black wingtip shoes. Wire-framed glasses highlighted his long aristocratic nose. Shannon's sonorous voice boomed above the others as he held court prior to boarding a new British Airways Boeing 777. Secretary Shannon and his key staff aides, plus the chairmen and ranking members of select congressional subcommittees, a handful of Shannon's fraternity brothers, a sextet of security personnel, and a baker's dozen of well-known journalists, were about to depart for London's Heathrow International Airport. The mood was deliciously jubilant. Shannon's guests chatted and smiled as they mingled with the convivial crowd. Although the possibility of an airliner's being hijacked in the United States was greatly reduced since September eleventh, some members of the delegation were still uneasy about commercial air travel. Privately, they admitted their preference would have been their usual conveyance aboard a jet operated by the 89th Airlift Wing at Andrews Air Force Base. Others--who felt more confidence in the current airport and airline security systems--were taking their spouses on the historic trip. In London, Shannon would spend the night at the Dorchester and then sightsee and shop the next forenoon. After a casual lunch at the hotel, he and his group would board the new Cunard ocean liner Queen Mary 2, the grandest floating palace in the world. An authentic transatlantic liner, the unrivaled Cunard flagship featured British White Star Service and extravagant accommodations. The streamlined QM2 showcased the latest in shipbuilding technologies for the twenty-first century, including the powerful Rolls-Royce four-pod propulsion system. To a person, Shannon's guests were excited about the relaxing six-day voyage from London to New York City. Two couples from Shannon's college days even brought freelance cinematographers along to record the memorable experience. Secretary Shannon looked forward to holding a "floating summit" with fellow statesmen from major European and Middle Eastern countries, including their host, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Russian Federation, the Islamic State of Afghanistan, the French Republic, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the Republic of Turkey. The stunning attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon had created a global movement that had recently culminated in the development of the Terrorism Coalition Council (TCC). During their cruise, the U.S. secretary of state, along with the foreign ministers and other officials of the TCC, would focus on immediate measures to eradicate terrorism on a worldwide basis. Shannon had known that once the problem was under some degree of international coordination and control, networking between nations to maintain an intelligence net over the terrorists would be much easier. Although it was an ambitious undertaking, Shannon felt confident that continued progress could be made if the coalition countries worked as a team to achieve their mutual goals. Messages received at the State Department suggested that a majority of leaders were enthusiastic about the initial effects of the TCC and desired to accomplish even greater results. The summit aboard the regal Queen Mary 2 was in the initial planning stages when British Airways generously offered a special charter flight from Washington's Dulles Airport. The overture would make the entire trip uniquely British. After the grand cruise from England to the Empire State, the group would be guests of the president and first lady at a gala White House state dinner. The following day, many members of the delegation would be returning to their respective countries. Others planned extended vacations at various locations across the United States, Canada, Mexico, South America, and Hawaii. When the boarding call was announced, Shannon led his cortege to the waiting airliner. After being cordially greeted at the entrance to the plane, the secretary made his way to his reserved seat in the spacious First Class section. Shannon's immediate staff joined him in the forward cabin. Two of the seats would remain vacant, allowing the secretary to visit casually with various dignitaries during the long flight to Heathrow. The ranking members of Congress were comfortably ensconced in the New Club World section of the airplane, while the remaining passengers were seated in the New World Traveler area. Shannon removed his rumpled suit coat and gave it to a charming flight attendant, one of eighteen assigned to this flight. "Welcome aboard, Mr. Secretary." "Thank you, nice to be aboard," he replied, with a friendly smile, as he took his seat. "How's the weather in London?" "Actually, it's quite pleasant for early summer, mild evenings and no mention of rain in the forecast." "Good." Shannon loosened his tie and unbuttoned his shirt collar. "I just hope it's cooler than it is here." "Oh, I assure you, it is." She had worked hard to overcome the broad accent of south London. "Would you care for something to drink?" "Sure. Champagne would be fine." "Champagne it is," she said, with an easy smile. While everyone settled into their comfortable seats, Shannon accepted a glass of Dom Perignon and stretched his long beefy legs. He glanced at his new Rolex wristwatch, a self-indulgent gift expressly for this momentous occasion: 6 a.m. We'll be in London around 6:15 p.m. with plenty of time to prepare for the prime minister's reception. After takeoff, Shannon and his fellow travelers enjoyed a smooth ride while they perused their breakfast menus. They finished the light meal while the airplane climbed to its cruising altitude of 37,000 feet and accelerated to 0.84 Mach. Two hours later came the pièce de résistance. Specially prepared for this occasion, the first course of the elaborate meal consisted of various hot and cold hors d'oeuvres. Shannon indulged himself with Gougère Puffs, a hot cheese pastry from the Burgundy region of France. He accepted another glass of champagne and studied his embossed menu. british airways world class service Hors d'Oeuvres with Appetizer Wines Cream of Leek Soup Cucumber-Watercress Salad Standing Rib Roast with Yorkshire Pudding Potatoes au Gratin Sliced Parsnips and Carrots Sherry Trifle or Crème Brûlée with Raspberries Earl Grey Tea or Demitasse Café Brûlot or Coffee After the meal, Shannon invited two senior members of the U.S. delegation to join him for tea. The men promptly took their seats across the aisle. Known to be a man who did not mince words, the secretary of state wanted to finalize their strategy for handling the details of the summit before they arrived in London. Shannon thoroughly relished his cabinet position--primarily for the prestige it afforded, but also because of the perks and personal attention he received. He desperately wanted this meeting to be another milestone in his illustrious career. The men mapped out their detailed plans and then returned to their seats for the final phase of the flight. By the time the triple-seven came to a smooth stop at Heathrow, everyone had smiles on their faces, including the gracious flight attendants. The passengers agreed the standard of service on the flight was truly impeccable, first rate in every category. Now it was time for Secretary Shannon and his delegation to prepare for the prime minister's reception at the Dorchester. The prestigious hotel overlooking Hyde Park and the boating lake known as The Serpentine was a favorite of the well heeled. Shannon looked forward to the evening and the multitude of photo opportunities. He was always treated well by the British press, and he expected this evening would be no exception. And, of course, the American journalists accompanying Shannon had been carefully selected to project the best image for both their secretary of state and the TCC conference. QUEEN MARY 2 Renowned for her generous size and truly majestic style, Cunard's reigning monarch was about to get under way from Southampton, Britain's second largest commercial port. Corks were popping in the Champagne Bar as passengers toasted a bon voyage with crystal flutes. The 5 p.m. sailing to New York City was a festive affair that highlighted the beginning of another glamorous Atlantic crossing. Indeed, affluent travelers from an earlier era had coined the word posh (port out, starboard home) to describe the preferred cabin location when sailing from London or New York City. Many booked their cabins and suites years in advance, including passengers who circled the globe each year on a worldwide adventure. Some even brought their personal assistants along to attend to their every need. A bastion of civilization and luxurious surroundings, the Cunard flagship fulfilled with calm assurance an atmosphere that is best depicted as splendidly British. From her maiden voyage, the one and only Queen Mary 2 consistently set the highest standard for transatlantic service. Aboard the culturally sophisticated QM2, informal dress for meals required jacket and tie for men, cocktail dress or dressy pantsuit for women. Formal dress signaled a tuxedo, or at minimum a dark business suit with a conservative tie and black shoes, evening gowns or other formal attire for women. On rare occasions a celebrity or Hollywood notable would defy the dress code, but the majority of guests appreciated the commitment to maritime excellence. In the intimate atmosphere of the Queen's Grill Lounge, Brett Shannon, the consummate bachelor, was engaged in lively conversation with his fellow passengers. The elegant watering house was reserved exclusively for travelers who selected the most lavish accommodations. Secretly, Shannon was thrilled to be where tycoons, royalty, sports legends, movie stars, and other world-famous celebrities routinely gathered to enjoy the privileged realm of ocean travel. He had been equally thrilled by the prime minister's warm reception at the Dorchester, truly the embodiment of goodwill and fellowship. The evening was a genuine success, with many old friendships renewed and new friendships formed. In addition to the camaraderie, Shannon was pleasantly surprised that a few original ideas were advanced about curtailing international terrorism. The Queen's Grill Lounge was almost filled to capacity while the captain and his seasoned crew prepared to get under way. Basking in the limelight of the moment, Shannon played to the other passengers. He regaled them with stories about the White House and life inside the Beltway. They, in turn, seemed to enjoy rubbing elbows with the powerful and influential U.S. secretary of state. Shannon took in a deep breath of unbridled satisfaction and slowly let it out. Tonight he would relax and enjoy the great ship's unmatched elegance and traditions. Tomorrow would be soon enough to address the complex issues awaiting the international members of the Terrorism Coalition Council. When the spectacular liner slipped her moorings and got under way on her six-day voyage, some of the members of the U.S. and British delegations left the lounge to walk along the observation deck. While the resplendent liner gathered speed, the strolling passengers absorbed her faint rhythms and breathed in the fresh sea air. For one and all, the excitement was contagious. Once the liner cleared the channel leading to Southampton, she would pass the Isle of Wight before proceeding southwest through the English Channel to the deep waters of the Atlantic. The captain and his senior officers never tired of these back-and-forth voyages between New York City and London. There were always interesting passengers aboard the QM2, and engaging sea stories to share over a pint of lager in the neighborhood pub. Concluding a lengthy stroll on Deck 7, Secretary Shannon and his senior staff repaired to the Queen's Grill for cocktails and dinner. The elegant restaurant was well known for its epicurean masterpieces. After the sumptuous feast, Shannon and his fraternity brothers gathered at the Chart Room for a nightcap. The cabaret singer spent the better part of an hour entertaining them with marvelous renditions of Gershwin tunes. Excerpted from Assured Response by Joe Weber 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.