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As Russian Civil War Rages, An Unexpected Heroine Emerges
What if a Siberian Joan of Arc had rescued the White Armies at a critical point of the Russian Civil War in 1919?
In a quiet town near Siberia’s Lake Baikal, Zhanna Dorokhina turns eighteen as the Russian Civil War rages. She is a bright, headstrong girl, with normal hopes and dreams, but for years, she has heard inner voices. The voices tell her to be virtuous, study well, and nurture her faith, for a great task lies ahead.
˃˃˃ Prophetic Voices Foretell of Russia’s Doom
Lately, however, the voices have turned ominous, foretelling Russia’s doom if the White Armies fail to crush the Bolshevik usurpers in Moscow. They direct Zhanna to travel to Omsk to alert the Siberian dictator, Admiral Kolchak, and to seek command of an army to besiege Moscow.
When Zhanna informs her father, he thinks her mad. But a young American intelligence officer and his Russian counterpart help win her an audience with the Admiral, and the two young men become her wartime companions.
˃˃˃ In The Face Of Death, Will The Prophecies Be Fulfilled?
Though Zhanna and the American officer harbor tender feelings for one another, Zhanna must put those feelings aside, because her voices demand that she remain pure. During the coming months, Zhanna persists despite relentless opposition. Displaying remarkable charisma and military aptitude, she leads her army across vast expanses of untamed forest and steppe, where suffering, violence and treachery await at every turn. But over time, Zhanna’s obsession with victory arouses powerful enemies. Defying a ceasefire, Zhanna wins her greatest battle, only to ride into a Bolshevik ambush soon after. Held captive, she must endure a vengeful show trial and face the verdict alone, without knowing whether her prophecies will be fulfilled.
˃˃˃ “A Russian war story that lives and breathes from a writer at the peak of his powers.” KIRKUS REVIEWS
MAID OF BAIKAL is a richly imagined speculation on the Russian Civil War that vividly portrays its violence, bitterness, and hardship, while telling the inspirational story of a determined young woman who perseveres in the face of overwhelming obstacles and who dies for her beliefs, not knowing whether her dreams will be realized.
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KIRKUS REVIEWS (Starred Review)
"Thriller fans with a taste for politics will devour this exciting investigation into dangerous government overreach and the mangling of civil liberties in a time of crisis." BOOKLIFE by PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (Editor’s Pick)
"Preston Fleming has crafted a brilliant novel…that delves into the question of human rights in the face of governments overstepping their bounds." PACIFIC BOOK REVIEW (Starred Review)
"ROOT AND BRANCH is a powerful book evoking memories of post 9/11… A book to be read and deeply pondered."
SAN FRANCISCO BOOK REVIEW (Star Rating 5/5)
"A relentlessly entertaining, sophisticated and intelligent political thriller that is a must-read for fans of Ken Follett, Robert Harris and Daniel Silva." BESTTHRILLERS.COM
ROOT AND BRANCH is a realistic thriller set in a near-future America where an Islamist-inspired intifada triggers emergency security measures that go terribly wrong.
Roger Zorn, owner of a French private security company, is delighted at having won a lucrative contract with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as part of the government’s new program of emergency security measures. The measures are launched when the U.S. military response to sneak attacks by Iran and Pakistan on America’s electrical grid provokes a wave of Jihadist-inspired violence across the U.S.A.
Zorn’s work for DHS requires him to apply his company’s Triage risk assessment technology to evaluate terrorist suspects captured in the U.S. and sort out the jihadists from nonviolent Muslim residents. But when Zorn’s inquiries lead him to discover that DHS and its lead contractor have been manipulating Triage scores to deport massive numbers of Muslims and is ‘disappearing’ the most violent ones, Zorn faces a choice.
Will he say nothing and sell his company to DHS’s prime contractor before scandal breaks, or will Zorn step up to expose the abuses and risk bringing the full wrath of America’s national security establishment down on his head?
An American Gulag
Kamas, Utah, 2024. America has become a totalitarian dystopia after the Unionist Party's rise to power. The American West contains vast Restricted Zones dotted with ghost towns, scattered military garrisons and corrective labor camps where the regime disposes of its real and suspected enemies.
A former businessman from Pittsburgh, Paul Wagner, arrives at a labor camp in Utah's Kamas Valley. He is unaware that his eleven-year-old daughter, Claire, has set off to Utah to find him. By an odd quirk of fate, Claire has traveled on the same train that carried her father into internal exile.
˃˃˃ The Inmates Seize Control
Only after Wagner has renounced all hope of survival, cast his lot with anti-regime hard-liners and joined them in an unprecedented and suicidal revolt does he discover that Claire has become a servant in the home of the camp's Deputy Warden. Wagner is torn between his devotion to family and loyalty to his fellow rebels. On the eve of an armored assault intended to crush the revolt, he faces an agonizing choice between a hero's death and a coward's freedom.
˃˃˃ Chillingly realistic
Forty Days at Kamas is both a stirring portrait of a man determined to survive under the bleakest of conditions and a nightmare vision of what America could become if political extremists rise to power.
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A CIA agent working at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut fears his past has caught up to him in the riveting second volume of the Beirut trilogy.
Higher-ups transfer Walter Lukash, a seasoned CIA officer, from his tour of duty in Jordan to Lebanon to act as a liaison for a fragile political party. Lukash’s orders are to inconspicuously gather intelligence in hopes of increasing the party’s cooperation with the U.S. Embassy, but that task quickly proves problematic when Lukash’s girlfriend from Jordan shows up in Beirut with ties to a wily Syrian national and an assassination plot. Conrad Prosser, the protagonist from Fleming’s (Dynamite Fishermen, 2011, etc.) previous novel, travels to war-torn Beirut at the behest of a source looking for his daughter’s missing husband—whose name happens to be an alias used by Lukash five years earlier. The winding plotlines make for a gloriously elaborate story as Fleming adeptly weaves through genres amid the rubble: suspenseful distrust among the conniving characters, window-shattering action sequences and the understated romantic tension between Lukash and Muna, the woman he left behind. The drama plays against a fiery backdrop of civil war, a setting well established in Fleming’s prior novel and aptly recreated here. This time, the inescapable violence acts as a foreboding presence: a cease-fire breaks the night Lukash arrives in Beirut, where he sleeps in a building riddled with bullets as explosions light up the sky. The rapidly developing plot burns through pages faster than the first time Fleming took us to Beirut.
An intelligent thriller teeming with vigor.
The second book in the Beirut Trilogy, BRIDE OF A BYGONE WAR is set in the spring of 1981, following the American elections, when Lebanon hopes for fresh political winds that might end their seven-year civil war. Enter Walter Lukash, a midlevel CIA officer assigned as intelligence liaison to the Phalange militia. Lukash soon becomes a pawn in a Levantine game intended to draw the U.S. into conflict with Lebanon’s Syrian occupiers. Unfortunately, Lukash is too distracted by problems arising from having abandoned his Lebanese bride five years earlier to see the trap until it springs.
Beirut, 1981. Walter Lukash, a journeyman CIA case officer, has been posted in the Middle East for eight straight years and is ready for a quiet desk job back in Washington. When he is ordered to Beirut instead for a two-month secret liaison assignment with the Phalange militia’s intelligence unit, his superiors believe they understand his reluctance to accept.
What they don't know is that, five years earlier, Lukash secretly married a Lebanese woman against Agency rules and abandoned her soon after the outbreak of war. More than that, his new Irish live-in girlfriend, whom the Agency considers a security risk, has followed him to Beirut from Amman and Lukash has defied orders to break off the relationship.
When the two-month assignment is extended to two years, Lukash realizes he can no longer avoid painful realities and choices. But before he can straighten things out, he is caught in a deadly three-way intrigue between the Phalange, the U.S. government and Lebanon's ruthless Syrian occupiers that threatens to unleash the full force of Syrian-backed terrorism against Americans in Beirut.
BRIDE OF A BYGONE WAR captures the unique atmosphere of Civil War Beirut with a lively and intelligent style that draws the reader into deep identification with the characters and the action.
“Politically charged entertainment with an engaging protagonist and a tightly machined plot moving smoothly toward resolution.” PACIFIC BOOK REVIEW
“An engaging fast-paced thriller. Reader will spend pleasant hours rooting for a team of assassins.” BOOKPLEASURES.COM
The second book in the Kamas Trilogy begins five years after the Kamas revolt. A Kamas survivor who returns to Boston is ordered by the prisoners’ covert Star Committee to kill the commandant who crushed the revolt.
BOSTON. 2029. Five years after the Kamas revolt.
Frank Werner, a Boston businessman arrested for dissident political activity, has survived a brutal government assault on a mutinous corrective labor camp in Kamas, Utah, and a year at hard labor in a remote Yukon tungsten mine. He gains amnesty during a brief political thaw and returns to Boston illegally in search of his only surviving daughter, Marie.
No sooner does Werner gain a foothold in Boston as a bootlegger-bartender and move in with a widowed pediatrician than his new life begins to unravel. A former Kamas rebel leader who twice saved his life assigns him a mission by authority of the prisoners’ covert Star Committee. The objective: to execute the warden who quelled the Kamas revolt five years before.
Werner, now nearly sixty, accepts the assignment reluctantly and recruits four trusted friends for his team. Each has a dark past and a different reason for joining the conspiracy. But the mission goes awry twice. After the second failed attempt on the former warden, who has been reassigned to Boston, each of the other team members is killed or leaves the field. Left alone, Werner resolves to complete the operation on his own. Before he can follow through, however, his missing daughter suddenly reappears. Now, by attacking, he risks any chance he might have of rejoining her.
Star Chamber Brotherhood offers unforgettable characters, rapidly mounting suspense and a richly imagined vision of an America gone terribly wrong. With his distinctive understated prose, Preston Fleming manages to evoke strong emotions and force wrenching choices in a new book that more than fulfills the promise of Forty Days at Kamas.
“As with all of Preston Fleming's previous books, EXILE HUNTER weaves together the harsh realities of personal betrayal, physical torment, emotional pain, and a spiritual quest with astute intelligence.” BOOKPLEASURES.COM
EXILE HUNTER, the third book in the Kamas Trilogy, begins in 2023, one year before the Kamas revolt, in a dystopian America ruled by a tyrannical President-for-Life who turns America’s military and intelligence assets against his domestic enemies. The protagonist, an undercover officer specializing in targeting exiled political opponents, becomes the scapegoat for a failed operation and is sent to die in a corrective labor camp near the Arctic Circle. But, defying all odds, he survives, escapes and devotes his remaining energies to finding and aiding a woman whose family he has ruined.
READERS' FAVORITE BOOK AWARDS WINNER 2014 (FICTION-DYSTOPIA)
Beirut, 2023: When undercover intelligence officer Warren Linder agrees to lure an exiled opponent of the President-for-Life back to impoverished, low-tech, post-Civil War II America, Linder is unaware that the target is his childhood sweetheart’s father. On learning this, he ignores his better instincts and plunges ahead. But a surprise encounter with the woman who rejected him years before triggers a change in Linder that derails the operation. His bosses, suspecting treachery, capture Linder along with the target and his daughter and spirit them back to the U.S. aboard a secret rendition flight. Linder’s ensuing journey takes him from Beirut to a Virginia interrogation center and on to an Arctic labor camp; then, after a nearly impossible winter escape, on a 2000-mile trek to the Utah Security Zone, where his onetime love was last held. Though he finds her, their respective ordeals have changed them. The story reaches a climax in the couple’s home town of Cleveland, where Linder aims to recover his former target’s last cache of rebel funds and use it to take his loved ones beyond the regime’s reach. EXILE HUNTER is a tragic yet life-affirming saga of a man who risks everything to set right past wrongs, regain lost love and resist the tyranny he once served.
In EXILE HUNTER, author Preston Fleming offers his most richly imagined vision yet of the future American dystopia introduced in FORTY DAYS AT KAMAS, while endowing the story’s characters with complexity and a remarkable capacity for growth. Warren Linder's epic journey crackles with excitement at every step and leads to a deeply satisfying conclusion. Devoted Fleming readers will likely consider EXILE HUNTER the author's best work by far.
“Dynamite Fishermen is an absolute stunner of a novel. It’s clear Fleming has done his research and it shows in the seamless dialogue and the ease at which he tackles the task of conveying the wartime ambiance. This is a must-read for history buffs - although I feel strongly everyone will enjoy the rapid pace and captivating suspense. Fleming is a writer deserving of many accolades.” SAN FRANCISCO BOOK REVIEW
“In Dynamite Fishermen, Preston Fleming depicts heedless violence as a way of life from the perspective of an American intelligence officer. The story falls during a lull in the long running Lebanese civil war, a period plagued by daily car bombings, civilian shootings, artillery attacks and other mayhem. As many details of this conflict continue to reverberate today, this intelligently written novel provides a compelling page-turner and a memorable story.” PACIFIC BOOK REVIEW
“More than memorable…Captures Beirut's harsh terrain in a vibrant, fast-paced story.” BOOKPLEASURES.COM
Beirut, 1982. Conrad Prosser is a skilled Arabist, expert agent handler, prolific intelligence reporter, and a connoisseur of Beirut's underground nightlife. But, as his two-year tour at the U.S. Embassy nears its end, Prosser's intelligence career is in jeopardy because he has not recruited an agent while in Lebanon, a sine qua non requirement for promotion.
Surveying his many contacts, Prosser selects an attractive Lebanese doctoral student and her idealistic brother as candidates for development. At the same time, he holds clandestine meetings by day and night with his string of Lebanese and Palestinian agents, pressing them to discover who is behind the latest wave of car bombings that has terrorized Muslim West Beirut. But when one of his agents supplies information used to capture a Syrian-backed bombing team, Prosser sets off a cycle of retaliation that threatens more than his career and cherished way of life.
At first denying, then later concealing, apparent attempts on his life, Prosser sets out to save both his job and his skin, exploiting his agents, his best friend, a former lover, his new girlfriend and her enigmatic brother. In doing so, he puts their lives at risk and discovers too late the effect of his heedless actions.
DYNAMITE FISHERMEN offers complex characters, fast-paced action, a vivid portrayal of human intelligence operations and the flavor of Beirut during its dark days of ci