Tom Clancy Thirty years ago Tom Clancy was a Maryland insurance broker with a passion for naval history. Years before, he had been an English major at Baltimore's Loyola College and had always dreamed of writing a novel. Read more>>

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Now Available! Tom Clancy Power and Empire

A Jack Ryan Novel

A newly belligerent Chinese government leaves US President Jack Ryan with only a few desperate options in this continuation of the #1 New York Times bestselling Tom Clancy series.


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BOOK EXCERPT

From Tom Clancy Support and Defend

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3


Caruso awoke to jolts of pain and waves of nausea, convincing him only after significant delay that he had not burned to death.

He opened his eyes, looked down, and found himself in a hospital bed. This wasn't the first time he'd regained consciousness since passing out in Arik Yacoby's burning home, but each time he only managed to lift his head, to catch a quick glimpse of the ambulance or the hospital hallway or the room he was in, and then drop his head back before drifting off again.

He didn't know if this process had been going on for a couple hours or for a couple weeks.

As his eyes cleared a little more he realized a doctor was standing at his bedside. A dark-skinned Indian with gray hair and a youthful face, the doctor wore scrubs, not a white coat. He took Dom's pulse, placing his fingers on Dom's left wrist while he checked his watch. When he finished he looked up at Dom's face and seemed surprised to find his patient looking
back at him.

"Well, hello, sir. I'm surprised to see you awake. You are still under sedation."

To Dom, the doctor's lilt sounded almost musical, but he wondered if this was just the effect of the drugs in his system.

The Indian began listing a litany of injuries. "You have suffered a slight concussion. Not serious, but expect headaches for a few days. Maybe weeks." He looked down at his clipboard. "Otherwise, bruises and cuts, mostly. A few significant. Eleven stitches on your forearm. A small piece of shrapnel from the bomb, we suspect, but it passed all the way through, so we don't know for sure. A puncture to your right pectoral. It was a metal screw. We got it out. Not deep. We've cleaned you up, shouldn't be an infection, but you'll want to watch those injuries. There is significant bruising across your—"

The patient interrupted the doctor. "The Yacobys?"

The doctor did not answer him directly. He only stepped to the side, revealing to Dominic the presence of another man in the room, sitting on a cheap recliner by the door with his legs crossed. He was middle-aged, with slicked-back black hair and a full mustache, and he wore a dark suit and tie.

"Hello, John."

Caruso did not reply.

"John Doe. That is your name." He eyed the American with an expressionless, almost tired face. "Unless you would like to give me another. No? John Rambo, perhaps?"

"Who are you?"

"I am Detective Constable Naidu." He stood up. "And I am here to ask you some questions."

"The Yacobys?"

Naidu shook his head back and forth; there was an obvious lack of sensitivity in the gesture. "Dead."

Dom closed his eyes and shook his head. "No."

"Yes," he corrected. "All four of them. Along with seven others at the scene. Nearly a dozen dead bodies, and you, my young American friend, were the only survivor." He leaned forward with eyebrows raised. "Miraculous, wouldn't you agree?"

Dominic didn't answer. His mind was on the Yacobys.

Dar. Moshe.

"You were pulled out of the burning building by neighbors, at great personal risk to themselves. You did not ask who saved you, but I thought you would care to know."

Caruso stared off into space.

Arik. Hanna.

"We know from the neighbors you were a guest in the home of the Yacobys, they saw you coming and going, but you had no identification on you when you were found. They said they thought you were American, and by your accent, I agree. But that is all I have. If there was anything in the home . . . passport, visa, U.S. driver's license, it was burned in the fire."

Caruso fought the images in his head, did his best to push them away just as he did his best to ignore the pounding headache that grew with each word out of Naidu's mouth. The sedation seemed to be wearing off by the second.

"I need to make a phone call."

"And I need you to answer my questions. Why would anyone want to kill your friend and his family? On his visa he said his occupation was personal trainer. His wife was a yoga instructor."

Dom did not answer. His forearm stung under the dressing now.

Naidu raised his voice. "We found the rifle. Who was Arik Yacoby?"

"He was my martial-arts instructor. That's all."

"Pakistani terrorists do not often go to such great lengths to kill martial-arts instructors."

"They were Pakistani?"

Naidu looked at Caruso with genuine surprise. "This is India. Who else would they be?"

Caruso laid his head back on his pillow. This was to be a hostile interview, that much was clear. And Dom was not in the mood. "I have no idea. I'm not the detective constable. If I were you, I'd look into the dairy truck parked at the end of the street."

Naidu replied, "I have already taken care of that. The woman who drove it is being sought. She has left the village, but we will find her."

Caruso looked around the hospital room, then said, "Pretty sure she's not in here."

"You are more interesting to me than she is."

Dom closed his eyes. "Then I'd say your investigation is fucked."

Naidu ignored the insult, and instead he looked down at his notepad. "Let's not waste time with games. We know Yacoby was a former member of the IDF. If he was something more, I need you to tell me."

"Something more?"

"Was he a Jew spy?"

Dom fought to control his urge to rail at Naidu. Instead, he said, "I want to make a phone call. I will not say anything else until I do."

Naidu's jaw flexed. Slowly he said, "You don't want to find out who is responsible for your friends' deaths?"

Nothing from the man on the bed.

"You show no respect for our investigation, but perhaps you should. You are not a suspect. We know you fought against the attackers. The blood of one of the men found in the kitchen was all over your hands. I am not going to charge you with murder for that, you might be pleased to know."

Dom rolled his eyes. He wasn't thinking about the implications for himself.

"I just want you to help me understand why they came for Arik Yacoby."

"I can't help you. I don't know."

Naidu sighed. "Pakistani terrorists. The threat of nuclear war. New conflict with China. Crime. Corruption. Disease. You don't think my nation has enough problems without armed Jews coming to our shores and encouraging new enemies?"

"Do I get my phone call or do you want an international incident when I leave?"

"You get a phone call when I say you get a phone call. You leave when I say you leave."

"Do you always treat guests to your country with such warmth?"

Naidu laughed. "I am not from the tourism bureau, Mr. John Doe. Maybe you can arrange an elephant ride with them when you get out of prison, but I am here to extract information from you."

Prison? Naidu was flailing. Dom knew most everything there was to know about interrogation tactics—he'd been trained by the FBI, after all. He could tell there was something missing from the detective constable's bluster. The bark was there, but Dom sensed no bite.

He smiled thinly. "I can hear it in your voice. You are bluffing. You don't have the authority to do a damn thing to me."

Naidu deflated a little. Though he kept his chin up and his voice strong, Dom saw weakness in his eyes. After a long staring contest, Naidu broke his gaze. "I would like to keep you here. You would open your mouth, eventually, I promise you this. But someone thinks you are important. A plane has arrived from the United States. My superiors have ordered me to put you on it as soon as you are fit for travel."

With that, Caruso threw off the sheets and kicked his legs out over the side of the bed. He began sitting up, but he'd only flexed his abdominals when he recoiled in pain. It felt as if all his ribs had been broken or, at least, very badly bruised.

He dropped back flat on the bed.

The detective constable cracked a slow smile as he noticed the young American's agony. He stood and walked to the door, then turned back, still with a smile only half hidden under his mustache.

He said, "Forgive me, John Doe. In this situation, I must find my satisfaction in the little things."



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