In Jack Mars’ non-stop thriller, “Our Sacred Honor,” Luke Stone is once again called upon for a deadly mission.
These days, the threat of nuclear war is not an unusual occurrence. And for Luke Stone, curbing that threat is part of the job. In Our Sacred Honor, the sixth book in Jack Mars’ thriller series, the former FBI agent is asked to embark on his boldest mission yet when two countries are at odds.
After an Iran-backed terrorist group strikes Israel, the country gives Iran 72 hours to clear out its military bases before Israel takes action. But Iran says that if Israel enters their airspace, they’ll launch a nuclear attack on both Israel and all U.S. bases in the Middle East. With the clock ticking towards disaster, the President of the United States calls upon Luke Stone to find the location of Iran’s nukes so that the U.S. can take them out.
In this political thriller, Stone is once again thrust into a chaotic world with one shocking twist after another.
Read on for an excerpt of Our Sacred Honor, and then download the book.
Our Sacred Honor, Jack Mars
1:05 a.m. Tehran Time (5:05 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on December 13)
Ilam Province, Iran
The night was bitterly cold.
They had landed hours before, on a plateau beneath the slopes of a steep, snow-covered mountain. The ground was hard, and it took over an hour to bury their parachutes, taking turns breaking the frozen earth with the small fold-up shovel Ari had brought.
At some point during the jump, Luke had come to think of the guy as Ari. Somehow, it sounded better to his ears than the Golem. If that’s who the man wanted to be, then okay.
It was time to get started. Forty-eight hours? And they had already burned two of them. There really wasn’t any time to waste.
Luke stared out into the darkness from the high plateau. The winds howled along the peaks above them, the trees rustling and shaking. Far below them, deep in a valley, there appeared to be the lights of a village.
“Are we hiding from people on this trek?”
Ari shrugged. “The region is sparesly populated. The Iraquis bombed mercilessly in the 1980s. Many people fled. The ones who remain are farmer and animal herders. They go to bed when the dark comes, and rise before first light. Hopefully, we will reach the road while they sleep. Anyway, they are mostly Kurds, plus a few nomadic tribes. They have no love for the Iranians.”
He paused. “But yes. We will avoid them. You never know who is indebted to the regime in one way or another.”
They made their way down. It was a long, difficult hike through a trackless wilderness. Here and there, Ari found a path they would follow for a while. Mostly, they blundered ever downward over loose rocks and scree, and through dense underbrush. The wind would shake the trees above their heads, bringing a gentle dusting of snow.
They barely spoke, moving in single fire, Ari in the lead, checking his compass every few minutes, followed by Luke, and then Ed. Hours passed in this formation. Late, a bright half moon came from behind the clouds, and Luke could make out the towering peaks of the mountains high above them.
They were standing in a small, dense forest. Ari pressed himself against a thick tree. Luke and Ed did the same. Ari indicated the area just ahead of them.
Perhaps fifty yards away, and three stories below them, there was a break in the trees. A narrow ribbon of roadway cut through the forest. A truck was parked down there, along the side of the road, its hazard lights flashing in the dark. Two men worked with flashlights, try to fix something—perhaps changing a flat tire.
“That’s our ride,” Ari said. Steam rose from his mouth.
He looked at Luke and Ed. His eyes were serious. “The men will ignore you. Do not speak to or acknowledge them in any way. Simply go to the back of the truck, walk up the ramp and into the trailer. A few minutes after we are in, they will finish their repairs, close the gate, and off we go. It’s a long drive to Tehran—it will be a good time for sleep, if you can manage it. There will be plenty of straw bedding. It’s not very comfortable, but I imagine you’ve slept on worse.”
Luke looked at him. Straw?
Ari dug into the breast pocket of his coat. He came out with small Styrofoam ear plugs. They were the cheap, squishy kind—they would expand to fill your ear canal. People often stuffed them in their ears at shooting ranges.
He handed two to Ed and two to Luke.
“Is it going to be loud?” Ed said.
Ari shook his head. “No. It’s going to smell.” He held up his own plugs. “Put them in your nose.”
They hiked down to the truck, doing exactly as Ari had instructed. Once on the roadway, they walked past the two men, ignoring them as if they weren’t even there. The men didn’t look up or appear to notice them. The two groups were like spirits to each other, inhabiting different dimensions.
Luke climbed up the steel ramp into the back of the truck. The trailer was separated into pens, each pen filled with about a dozen brown sheep. The sheep were thick with their winter coats.
Ari squeezed into a pen, patted a couple of sheep, and immediately lay down on the straw-covered floor.
“The Iranians love their sheep,” he said. “If you’re lucky, these sheep will lay down with you and give you their warmth.”
“Wool?” Luke said.
Ari shook his head. “Meat. You never had sheep’s head soup? Kalech pache, they call it. They put the whole head in—eyes, tongue, brain, everything. Also the hooves. Very nice for breakfast—it will keep you full all day. Perhaps we’ll get some at a bazaar stall in Tehran. After the mission is over, of course.”
“Okay,” Luke said. “Once we find the nukes and call in the air strikes, we’ll hang around for a couple of days, relax and eat strange food. That sounds like fun. I’m sure the Revolutionary Guards will be delighted to host.”
Behind him, the metal gate to the trailer clanged shut. The man padlocked it closed. Up front, the truck’s engine roared into life.
Ed was pushing his way into a pen with the sheep. He had a considerably harder time squeezing between the metal rails than Ari had. After a moment, his giant bulk was surrounded by fuzzy, bleating livestock.
“I didn’t know this was going to be a pleasure trip,” he said.
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