The Freedom Broker (A Thea Paris Novel) by K.J. Howe

The Freedom Broker (A Thea Paris Novel) by K.J. Howe

Author:K.J. Howe [Howe, K.J.]
Language: eng
Format: azw3
Tags: FIC031060 Fiction / Thrillers / Political
Publisher: Quercus
Published: 2017-02-07T00:00:00+00:00

Chapter Thirty-Four

Nikos’s view of the arid dunes surrounding the airstrip was clouded by red earth kicking up as the Cessna Caravan touched down. The plane lumbered to a stop, and the grit hovering in the air dissipated. A Kanzi flag on a lone pole waved in the brisk wind—half red, half black, with a green circle in the middle, representing “through the mud and the blood to the green fields beyond.” No green fields today, though: soaring temperatures and dry conditions had left any local crops desiccated. The surrounding area was a barren wasteland.

The Cessna had landed in the western region of Kanzi, where the harsh climate made the land inhospitable, though it provided the perfect location for a rebel training camp. Shots could be fired and grenades could explode without causing any alarm. The only people who roamed the surrounding desert were the nomadic tribes, and they knew better than to venture near this encampment.

“Welcome home.” The flight steward opened the exit door while the co-pilot ran around the spinning propeller to unload Nikos’s luggage. Four soldiers in fatigues stood armed with the newly supplied AK-47s beside a pair of Toyota Land Cruisers.

As difficult as the conditions were here, Nikos considered this country his home. He might have been born in New York City, but Ares had come into being in Kanzi. For years he’d kept his two identities separate, never merging. But now he was taking the ultimate risk, revealing himself. He planned on tricking one devil to exact revenge on another, fulfilling his destiny, bringing his story full circle after twenty long years.

He strode over to the lead truck and climbed inside, the air-conditioning providing a welcome respite from the unrelenting heat. They headed for the camp, the truck bouncing up and down on the uneven terrain.

Fifteen minutes later, they entered the military encampment, and the Land Cruiser stopped in front of a large canvas tent with a sweeping overhang. A massive figure stood beside two young boys dressed in matching Nike shirts.

The General.

Nikos stepped out of the truck and came face-to-face with his former kidnapper for the first time in twenty-five years. The man walking toward him had been his abductor and his savior, but today they shared a common bond—a hatred of Christos Aristotle Paris. So when Nikos had reached out via encrypted satphone with his proposal, the General had agreed immediately.

At six foot one, Nikos was hardly a small man, but standing next to this giant, echoes of his twelve-year-old self resurfaced. Somewhere inside, his rigid self-control faltered for a second.

No, things were different now. He was the power player, the General only a pawn. The weathered warrior had gray hair near his temples, deep crevices etched in his ebony face, and his tribal scars had left his skin looking like the hide of a rhino. His immense bulk had softened, the buttons of his uniform fighting against his belly. He also had a slight limp from that long-ago firefight, when Kofi had betrayed the General and shot him in the leg.


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