Temple of Gold by A.J. Stewart (Lenny and Lucas Adventure #1)
English | 2020 | Mystery & Thriller | ePUB | 2.9 MB
A Marine questioning his orders. An SAS soldier with a healthy disregard for authority. Tales of slaves and temples in the Kampuchean jungle.
Lenny Cox joined the Marines to protect the innocent. The adventure was a bonus. So lying in the humid Southeast Asian jungle watching over a CIA supply drop is his idea of a good day out. That’s until he sees the recipient of the drop is an ex-Khmer Rouge unit, four years after the killing fields.
Lenny does what he should never do—he searches for the truth. But in this place the truth is slippery, and everybody has dirty hands. Even the peasants taken as slaves.
He figures there’s not much a lone Marine can do, until a chance encounter with an Australian SAS soldier who might know as much as Lenny knows, and might be just as unhappy about it.
Together they take on their own governments, spies, and the Khmer Rouge, in a part of the world that the rest of the world just wants to forget.
Grains of rice spilled across the dirt as the man fell to his knees. Others set their own bags down and dashed over to help scoop up the spilled rice. The general roared and everyone froze as he spoke—inaudible to Lenny—and the eyes of every villager dropped to the ground. Then the old man slowly stood. He shuffled, hunched, to the rear of the truck, where the general towered above him.
The man stood five feet back from the truck, head bowed. The general slipped a pistol from the holster on his hip and held it by his side. Then he spoke again. Lenny could see the general’s words were addressed to the sorry-looking villagers before him, but as one, the villagers concentrated hard on the dirt. Lenny had seen that look before. The knowledge of what was coming, and the hope that it might not happen if only they didn’t look.
The general aimed his pistol at the old man’s bowed head.
“He’s gonna kill that old guy,” whispered Barbera.
“Range to target?” asked Lenny.
“What?” asked Barbera. “You can’t shoot.”
“Cox, we’re not here, you get it? You can’t shoot. The general is Ventura’s guy.”
Lenny said nothing. He didn’t need the range. He knew it. He’d asked for confirmation out of habit, but he had seen the airborne recon photos and analyzed the distances and drawn up a range card that he had consulted after setting up position. It was 803 yards—give or take—to the front of the mess structure. That meant roughly 808 yards to the truck.
“Cox, do you hear me? I’m calling Ventura.”
“Do what you gotta do, pal.”
Barbera rolled over and pulled the handset from his field radio. “Flying Fox, this is Possum, come in.”
Lenny kept his eye on the scope. The general spoke again, and the old man slowly, one leg at a time, got to his knees. Lenny felt the trigger against his finger. He could hear Barbera on the radio, but it was just white noise. His focus was on the target. He gently moved the crosshairs onto the general. His breathing slowed to almost nothing. There was no breeze to speak of. He just needed to allow for the drop in elevation and gravity, and the humidity.
He heard Barbera roll back.
“Ventura says if you shoot, he’ll leave you out here. Do you hear me?”
Lenny didn’t reply. The muscles in the general’s jaw tightened.
Then all hell broke loose.
The tailgate suddenly dropped open, and the general’s feet flew out from beneath him, and for a moment he seemed to be suspended midair, like a cartoon character, and then he fell back onto the rice bags.
But the bags were moving, too. They had shifted against the tailgate, and now shot from the truck like coins from a slot machine. General Tan landed with a thud on a rice bag heading west, and he sped off the truck like a kid on a snow sled. His legs flailed upward and his arms flailed outward, and his pistol flew back into the load behind him as he went flying down the mound of falling rice bags.