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The Vets (Stephen Leather Thrillers) [Kindle Edition]

Stephen Leather
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Hong Kong. The British administration is preparing to hand the capitalist colony back to Communist China with the minimum of fuss.

But Colonel Joel Tyler has other plans for the British colony, plans which involve four Vietnam War veterans and a spectacular mission making use of their unique skills.

Vietnam was the one thing the four men had in common before Tyler moulded them into a team capable of pulling off a sensational robbery.

But while the vets are preparing to take Hong Kong by storm, their paymaster, Anthony Chung, puts the final touches to an audacious betrayal. At stake is the future of Hong Kong . . .

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Fourwar-scarred veterans return to Vietnam on a daring criminal mission.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

Another Asian-flavored thriller from Leather (The Chinaman, 1992, etc.)--this one about Vietnam vets who form an uneasy alliance with Hong Kong triads for a big score. Under the guise of healing the psyches of four ex-vets by getting them a tour back to contemporary Vietnam, former Colonel Tyler assembles his team. Lately, the Southeast Asian Republic, desiring better relations with the US, has been encouraging American tourism. Languishing under communist rule, Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) has dwindled from ``the Paris of the Orient'' to a cracked-plaster backwater. Buildings have deteriorated, and long gone is the glitz that wartime US dollars bestowed. But, surprisingly, the impoverished populace are still pro-American. The trip, however, is all eyewash. Approached afterward by the Colonel, all four men confirm their interest in acquiring millions of dollars. Tyler knows his men: Lehman, a former helicopter pilot, is on the run from the Mafia; helicopter crew chief Lewis is dying of cancer; doorgunner Carmody is plain psychotic; and Special Forces expert Horvitz is afflicted with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). After visiting Vietnam and Thailand, Tyler ferries his men to Hong Kong, where the heist--robbing the Happy Valley racetrack--will go down. Mastermind is Anthony Chung, a brilliant, young--and very rich--Chinese with a secret agenda. Replete with surprises, the plot is revealed little by little. Or as they say in spy novels--on a need-to-know basis. Better yet, even minor characters are well-fleshed, and the portrait the author paints of shabby Saigon and sad Hong Kong exceeds that of any travel narrative. Leather goes himself one better with each outing. A detail- oriented, devious, engrossing thriller that never falters. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1001 KB
  • Print Length: 580 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0340597704
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton; New Ed edition (August 20, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002VD6NQ4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #429,098 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What's wrong with me? February 12, 2005
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
By rights, THE VETS should be a 5-star read. I'm taking this opportunity for self-appraisal to try and understand why, for me, it's not.

It's a couple of years before Hong Kong is to revert to Red China. Chinese expatriate Anthony Chung meets in Paris with ex-U.S. Army Special Forces Colonel Joel Tyler to set in motion plans for the Heist of the Century in Britain's last jewel in the crown. To that end, Tyler implements an elaborate scheme to recruit other U.S. Army vets of the Vietnam war for the venture. He ultimately attracts ex-Huey pilot Dan Lehmen, a phony investments scammer on the run from the Mob, ex-Tunnel Rat Eric Horvitz, a border-line sociopath living alone in the Canadian woods, ex-Huey door gunner Larry Carmody, who left Nam with a chip on his shoulder and minus one forearm, and ex-Huey crew chief Barton Lewis, a lonely divorcé recently diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer. Then there's ex-Air America, i.e. CIA, chopper pilot Chuck Doherty, who fled a murderous Special Forces operation in Laos, only to stash his Huey in the Thai jungle and live as a Buddhist monk these last twenty-two years.

This thriller is intricately constructed with more than the usual amount of character development. There's even a plot twist, although the reader is let into the secret 120 pages before the book's conclusion and it's left only to see how Dan, Eric, Larry, Bart, and Chuck fare before the dust settles.

THE VETS is actually a hard book to put down, but I was left with a niggling dissatisfaction. I think it's because there wasn't anybody serving as a protagonist whom I could cheer on from the sidelines, though Lewis perhaps comes the closest.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a novel which overshadows jeffery archer September 1, 1999
By A Customer
The vets by stephen leather is one of the best novels written on the changing scenarios of hong kong before the chinese take over .The plot is very beautifull with a lot of twists authors grip remains firm throughout the novel .The novel also seems to be a very good travel guide of bangkok vietnam and hong kong.I recommend this novel to every fiction lover.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Vets and Other Books by Stephen Leather March 21, 2002
Format:Unknown Binding
I discovered this author when travelling in SE Asia. I rate him as one of the best thriller writers I know of and find it strange to find him in 'not in print' in the USA. His 'The Vets' deals with US Vietnam veterans, and his work covers a very wide geographical range, from Bankok to LA...
Stephen Leather has a large following in the UK and deserves better treatment on this side of the Atlantic...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read June 24, 1999
By A Customer
Mr. Leather writes a good story. The Vets themselves are somewhat stereotypical, but the characters are developed sufficiently so that we know them, and care what happens to them. The insights into post Communist takeover Viet Nam were interesting. A dual story line, that only intersects with the Vets near the end, deals with Hong Kong before it's reversion to the Chinese. Here the main character is quite mysterious until the end, and the explanation is somewhat disappointing. The "bad guy" gets his in the end, but also in a somewhat anti-climactic & disappointing way. The book was informative, interesting, and kept me reading until the end. The sex scenes were tasteful, yet exciting. Overall the story is a little hard to accept, but that's what fiction is all about...suspending belief. I recommend the book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you don't like "KOWLUNG TONG", try this one!!! September 11, 1997
By A Customer
This is a very exciting and very good written novel about the years before the coming 1997 in Hong Kong. Since Mr. S. Leather has been stayed in the Far East for over 18 years and mostly spent in Hong Kong. The description of the scenary and what's happening and what has happened before 1997 was a very deep and vividly portrayed. A very complicated and very absorbing, twisted story of adultery, betrayal, VietNam Syndrome and a robbery carried out by a Rolex accuracy and precision. Very interesting and fast paced novel. Highly recommended
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The vets December 7, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I am very pro this author ,read all his books and am sure this will continue for a long time
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good yarn May 7, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this story. A bit different from the usual Leather novel. Got a bit bogged down in the middle but had a great ending.
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More About the Author

Stephen Leather is one of the UK's most successful thriller writers, an eBook and Sunday Times bestseller and author of the critically acclaimed Dan "Spider' Shepherd series and the Jack Nightingale supernatural detective novels. Before becoming a novelist he was a journalist for more than ten years on newspapers such as The Times, the Daily Mirror, the Glasgow Herald, the Daily Mail and the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong.

He is one of the country's most successful eBook authors and his eBooks have topped the Amazon Kindle charts in the UK and the US. In 2011 alone he sold more than 500,000 eBooks and was voted by The Bookseller magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the UK publishing world. Born in Manchester, he began writing full time in 1992.

His bestsellers have been translated into fifteen languages. He has also written for television shows such as London's Burning, The Knock and the BBC's Murder in Mind series and two of his books, The Stretch and The Bombmaker, were filmed for TV. You can find out more from his website and you can follow him on Twitter at


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