I’ve been watching the SONY dilemma with more than passing interest. The Interview, a silly movie, a comedy adventure SONY made based on a couple of stumbling journalists asked by the CIA to assassinate the young leader of North Korea, might come to mind when you read my prologue in Blood Anger, except that I take killing the leader of North Korea more seriously.
So, should I be concerned that North Korea might take umbrage at my use of a fictitious, young North Korean leader placed in the crosshairs of a skilled assassin? Technology is advanced. If you bought Blood Anger, hackers could trace the purchase. Will you avoid buying the book to keep your name from North Korean intelligence officials? Would you have gone to see The Interview if SONY hadn’t removed it from theaters? The movie trailer shows the film’s assassination plot to be mindless entertainment that no one could imagine the CIA ever attempting against Kim Jong-un. (By the way, my fictitious North Korean dictator is Kwon Ji-yul. My assassin character, Duane Manchester, has a very different objective than the CIA might employ when he takes aim, although earlier this year when Kim was out of sight, the world might have wondered.)
So that you don’t have to worry about reading Blood Anger and being a target of North Korean revenge, I’ll give you a running scene from the prologue that the North Koreans might object to so you don’t have to buy anything. And maybe the hackers won’t find you. But if you’re not afraid, please do buy it.
Prologue p. 3-5
(taking place at the Great Wall of China)
Manchester became anxious. “This setup is too good,” he said. He wanted to get the job done so he could exit.
He saw the lead soldier step to the edge and signal in the direction of yet another tower 75 meters farther east along the Great Wall. Manchester panned his binoculars to the adjacent crown.
There he was. Chinese military dignitaries surrounded Kwon Ji-yul. Kwon, the Supreme Leader of North Korea, rose from a young military general to the top position with the passing of his uncle, Kwon Su-kim.
A step behind Kwon strolled an attractive and stoic Asian woman. Manchester assumed she was about 30. She strode confidently, but stayed obediently a pace back. She wore an embroidered red formal tunic that was tapered to accentuate her curves. She covered her head with matching red material. Her escorting soldiers watched with covetous glances as she lingered behind Kwon. They tripped over each other trying to stay close to the celebrity couple. One officer seemed to dominate Kwon’s attention. Manchester put his rifle to his shoulder and watched through his scope.
The officer appeared older. His military decorations covered his chest.
“A suck-up,” Manchester labeled him. Duane Manchester loathed military suck-ups. But behind the suck-up was a female officer, a pretty woman also highly decorated.
Manchester speculated that Kwon and his lady friend had visited the Great Wall before. He followed their trek to the destination tower where the scouting patrol waited. He panned his scope back to the female officer. Her eyes were fixed on his location as she walked in cadence.
Four Chinese soldiers with automatic weapons at full ready marched 10 meters ahead of the entourage. Another four followed.
They all disappeared into the tower and reappeared on the crown. The suck-up – more apparent now as a Chinese general – stepped to an open archer’s portal and pointed into the vast landscape in front of them. He looked directly into Manchester’s killing eye.
“Pow,” Manchester whispered.
Kwon took the adjacent portal and his lady friend took the next one nearest. The pretty officer stood behind the general.
Manchester put Kwon in his crosshairs then panned again to the Chinese suck-up. He moved the barrel back to his left and fired. Almost before the casing hit the ground, Manchester had fired a second round from the semi-automatic weapon as the sound reached the unsuspecting victims.
He pulled the rifle back quickly. He crawled to the steps, descended a few, and disengaged the 20-round magazine from the Sharpshooter.
He heard the distant barrage of weapons. Manchester peeked his head above the hole again to locate the spent casings. He gathered both as bullets whistled overhead. Random shells pinged against the old blocks and stones. He knew the soldiers were peppering every potential shelter.
Manchester packed his rifle against his chest, repelled the wall, and strapped the jetpack to his back. He donned his fin-shaped helmet, but before he could fire his stealth engine, he heard helicopters closing in on his location. He darted for cover. The aircraft flew near enough for Manchester to gaze into the pilot’s eyes.
He ducked and peeled his jetpack preparing to engage. He pulled the rifle from his chest and jammed the magazine into the base of the L129A1 Sharpshooter. He loaded his first round into the chamber. He searched the sky again listening for the chopper. But the sounds faded. The chopper left.
Manchester waited 10 seconds, broke down his rifle, and strapped into his gear again. He started the stealth engine and glanced at the sky before quietly rising to the top of the tree line. He leaned into the throttle and accelerated to maximum speed.