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On Sale: September 25, 2012
Pages: 304 | ISBN: 978-0-375-98351-1
Published by : Random House Books for Young Readers RH Childrens Books
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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

It's 2030, and humanity is losing the war against alien invaders. A Band of Brothers meets Ender's Game in this sci-fi military thriller.

A team of six has been chosen . . .

. . . to infiltrate the enemy's headquarters in the heart of the Australian Outback. The six teens have been modified to look like aliens. They have spent years mastering alien culture so that they can talk, act—even think—like their enemies. But from the start, the recon mission goes terribly wrong. It's only when they are close to discovering the shocking truth of the aliens' plans that the team is forced to ask:

Who among them is a traitor?

Brian Falkner, author of The Project, Brain Jack, and The Tomorrow Code, delivers a page-turning military thriller with his signature heart-pounding action and unique sci-fi twists.

Hand this to teens who love playing Call of Duty and Halo!

"Falkner supplies a tight story that features a strong plot and believable characters. . . . [He] effectively employs the tropes of both survival and war stories to great effect. While an entirely satisfying read on its own, readers can only hope there is a second installment in the works."—Kirkus Reviews

Excerpt

9780375869464|excerpt

Faulkner / ASSAULT

Book 1—­Recon

1. Where Angels Fear

[Mission day 1]

[2335 hours local time]

[F-­35 Lightning II Stealth Bomber, somewhere over the center of Australia]

“Angel Chariot, this is Heaven. How copy?”

“Heaven, this is Angel Chariot, clear copy, over.”

“Angel Chariot, we have zero five bogies now airborne in your proximity. Repeat, zero five bogies. Expect enemy craft approaching from your six. Anticipate interception in one seven mikes, confirm.”

“Angel Chariot confirming zero five bogies, interception in one seven mikes.”

“Confirmation acknowledged, Angel Chariot. Proceed as planned. Good luck. Out.”

The voices in his ear fell silent, and Lieutenant Ryan Chisnall glanced around at the vague shadows that were the five other members of his team, crouched together in the impossibly small space in the bomb bay of the aircraft. A space that was not designed to hold human beings.

The other members of the team couldn’t hear the voices of the pilot (snug in the cockpit somewhere above them) and their mission controller (safe thousands of miles away at the Operational Command Center). Only Chisnall had a link to this channel, so the others did not know that five enemy jets were heading their way and the first would be right on their tail in less than seventeen minutes.

He decided not to tell them.

A ripple of fear welled up from his gut, stretching dark fingers out around his chest. His heart began to race as a tingling sensation spread from his fingertips to his shoulders.

He took a deep breath and expelled it slowly, humming to himself as he did. Panic, not the circumstances, was the killer. That was what his combat instructor had rammed home again and again. Fear is your friend, keeping you sharp. But panic is the unclean spirit, twisting your soul, consuming logic, training, and, finally, you. So Chisnall hummed to himself and, in doing so, banished the panic to the far corners of his mind.

“Okay, final sys-­checks,” he said in a steady voice.

The noise inside the fuselage of the plane would have deafened a corpse. The bomb bay had been heated and pressurized for this mission, but not soundproofed. With the continuous roar from the other side of the bomb bay doors, it was like being in front of the speakers at a thrash metal concert. If they hadn’t all been wearing comm units, talk would have been impossible.

One by one, each of the team members’ systems checks came up on his HMDS. Five of them had sys-­OK, including him, but one was showing a problem.

“Angel Three, you’re showing a helmet breach. What’s going on, Hunter?” Chisnall could barely see Specialist Stephen “Hunter” Huntington, although he was no more than a few feet away from him. The darkness in the fuselage was almost absolute. The only light came from the ready lights on the six half-­pipes on the floor beneath their feet.

“Just scratchin’ my nose, Angel One,” Hunter replied, and his sys-­check lit up before he finished speaking.

“Picking your nose, you mean,” Private First Class Trianne Price said.

“This is Angel Five. I have visual confirmation, over,” Private First Class Blake Wilton said. “He was definitely picking.”

“Mate,” Sergeant Holly Brogan said, “if Hunter could pick his nose, would he have picked that one?”

Hunter’s voice came immediately in Chisnall’s ear. “Angel One, I wish to report Sergeant Brogan for breach of regulations, subsection C, paragraph six—­intentionally dischargin’ a joke that’s older than my grandmother, without regard for the safety of others.”

“Is not Price your grandmother?” Specialist Janos “Monster” Panyoczki asked.

“Bite me,” Price said, and there was a muffled thump on the comm.

Chisnall grinned. Nearly eighteen, “Phantom” Price was the oldest member of the team.

The pilot’s voice cut across the banter. “Angel One, this is Angel Chariot, how copy?”

“Angel Chariot, this is Angel One. Clear copy,” Chisnall replied immediately.

“Angel One, I have six greens showing on my board. Please confirm you are ready to Echo Victor.”

“Angel One confirming six sys-­OKs. All angels ready to fly, over.”

“Echo Victor in approximately one four mikes, confirm?”

“Confirm Echo Victor in one four mikes.” Chisnall checked his pulse again. Fourteen minutes until the EV, which was just a short way of saying they were going to be ejected from a fast-­moving jet at 32,000 feet.

“Four mikes! That’s crap,” Wilton said. “Let’s go now. I can’t wait to stick it down those Bzadian throats. Booyah!”

Chisnall thought he could hear a tremor in Wilton’s voice, despite all his bravado.

“You know we can’t,” he said. “We have to wait until the pilot fires off chaff. As soon as one of the Pukes gets missile lock on us, we are out of here.”

“So hit the chaff and let’s go,” Wilton said.

“Wilton, ya plonker,” Hunter said. “If Angel Chariot releases chaff before one of the Pukes gets missile lock, then the Pukes start saying to themselves, ‘What’d he do that for?’ And the last thing we need is a bunch of suspicious Pukes on our six.”

“Yeah, and if the Puke gets a shot off before we EV, then we’re CFC!” Wilton said.

“CFC? What is this CFC?” Monster asked. “Not in the SMTPA manual.”

“Crispy fried chicken,” Holly Brogan informed him.

Chisnall shook his head. “If we don’t jump in the chaff, then we might as well take out a front page ad on Google, telling the Pukes we’re on our way.”

“I know it, LT,” Wilton said. “But that don’t make it any easier to sit up here with our butts hanging out waiting for the first Puke fast mover to kick us where it hurts.”

“You think?” Price said.

Silence spread like a thick cloud through the confined space. This was it. The real thing. A combat drop over enemy territory. A first for all of them. Chisnall couldn’t see their faces, but he could sense their tension.

The timing had to be perfect. A second wrong either way and the mission was compromised or they were dead. Which pretty much amounted to the same thing.

The Operational Command Center, with its all-­seeing satellite eyes, was back on the comm to the pilot of their aircraft.

Brian Falkner

About Brian Falkner

Brian Falkner - The Assault (Recon Team Angel #1)

Photo © Laura Falkner

In 2006, Brian was scuba diving off a small island near the coast of Phuket when his dive buddy frantically pointed at a small underwater rock formation that Brian was just passing. Brian turned to see a huge moray eel with a head the size of a football staring at him.
 
Brian started to back away slowly, but instead of attacking, the eel turned and wound its way into a crevice. That incident is not yet in one of Brian’s books, but one day it might well be. A lot of Brian’s real-life adventures end up in his books—in fictional disguise of course! Whether it is an attack by a vicious swarm of wasps, being bullied at school, or skimming the surface of the ocean in a tiny seaplane, Brian loves to use real incidents as the basis for the stories in his books.
 
A recent face-to-face encounter with a deadly king cobra and a ride on an elephant with a mind of its own are all lodged away somewhere waiting for the right moment to emerge in a story.
 
Even at school Brian knew that he wanted to be a writer. It took him 30 years to realize that dream with his first junior novel published in 2003.
 
He studied computers at university and then trained as a journalist. He worked as a reporter and an advertising copywriter, a radio announcer and an Internet developer before finally realising his lifelong dream of being an author.
 
Brian lives on the North Shore of New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, with his wife and two children. They have two dogs. His hobbies are scuba diving, cycling, travel, amateur theater, photography, and rugby (both union and league).
 
Here are some more things you might not know about Brian Falkner:
-         He was once a carry-over champion on Wheel of Fortune.
-         He really sucks at poetry, so when he needed a poem for his book Super Freak, he “borrowed” one from his daughter, Laura (then 12 years old).
-         He is an award-winning Web site developer.
-         The Story Wizard on www.brianfalkner.co.nz is actually Brian in disguise.
-         Both his hands just have a single line across the palm (sometimes known as the Simian Crease), a rare quirk that he shares with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
-         On stage he has played the wizard in The Wizard of Oz, the Fiddler in Fiddler on the Roof, and Santa Claus in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.
-         His favourite movie is The Matrix.
-         His favourite television show ever was a 1970s British series called The Professionals.

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