From the bestselling authors of Atlantis and Silver!
Navy SEAL Dane Maddock leads a team of operatives in a race against Russian Spetznaz agents to find a lost nuclear submarine and recover a threat known only as Romanov's Bane, but the frozen wasteland of Wrangel Island is home to more than enemy soldiers. Soon, Dane and Bones find themselves face-to-face with dangers thought long extinct. Join them as they seek to foil a madman's deadly plot in the action-packed thriller, Dead Ice.
Take a peek at the Action & Adventure bestseller lists and you're bound to find several of the Dane and Bones titles from thriller writer David Wood. This particular addition to the series was written in conjunction with fellow writer Steve Savile (yes, that Steve Savile) giving you even more bang for your buck. – Joseph Nassise
"Another rip-roaring thrill ride of an adventure for Dane and Bones! Thriller fans won't want to miss!"– Joseph Nassise, international bestselling author of The Templar Chronicles
"Call in sick tomorrow, it's going to be a late night! Shades of Jurassic Park set against a Russian special forces backdrop with old friends Dane and Bones at it again—Dead Ice is dead on!"– Rick Chesler, author of Solar Island and Wired Kingdom
The man didn't break his stride, didn't glance back at those chasing him, yelling at him to stop. He ran for his life. Moonlight glinted on the rain soaked street, only to be trampled and splashed by expensive Italian leather shoes designed for anything but running, and metal tipped boots that clattered and echoed between the tenements of a harsh city.
"Стой!" Louder this time. Demanding. Stop! Soon they'd shoot.
He reached a narrow red brick alleyway, ducked into it and kept running. He knew these streets and back alleys, not well, but well enough not to be herded into a dead end. The buildings were in a state of decay far worse than a few broken streetlights suggested. The rot lay deep and pervasive, and the fetid odor of urine and rotting garbage hung in the air. Back home, they'd have been condemned and torn down. Here they were home to the poor and used as a mask to hide the horrors of the regime. He had to use it to his advantage if he was going to make it to the rendezvous in time. It was vital that the information he was carrying reached the right hands. After that nothing else mattered. He would have done his job. He'd always known the risks.
He almost lost his footing as he turned left then right, ducking under a sagging washing line strung with grime stained vests and underwear that surely hadn't been washed before being hung out. The double-back bought him a few precious seconds while he was out of sight, then he hit the open space of the unlit courtyard before a towering block of apartments. He tipped over a few trash cans, spilling garbage across the narrow path, hoping to slow the pursuit. To his left he saw a rusty wrought-iron gate that hung open on a shadowy doorway. Beyond it, barely visible, the first couple of stone steps leading up. He ran for them, climbing the stairs three and four steps at a time, then rushed along a walkway that overlooked the courtyard. He looked down. He shouldn't have looked down. The first of the men hunting him stumbled into one of the overturned cans trying to avoid the garbage strewn across the path. His curse barely carried as far as the walkway. The tactic maybe bought him half a second.
He had to keep moving. There had to be a way out of this rat hole.
He checked the grime crusted windows as he ran past the apartments. He didn't know exactly where he was going. A little divine intervention would be gratefully accepted. One door along here, he hoped, would get them off his trail. The first two were lit by dim lamps and the muted glow of television sets; tiny sets in tiny rooms and yet the people watching them did not know anything bigger or better. Those tiny sets were as close to luxury as they'd ever come. They had been raised good Communists, content with their lot, and did not deserve the fate he could bring to their door. Forcing his way into any one of those homes would ruin their lives. He didn't want to do that to them.
But if he had to, he would.
At the far end of the walkway, he saw what he was looking for.
Even with the bare bulb above shattered, the limited light was enough to see that the door had been forced open. Jags of splintered wood around the frame betrayed the fact the apartment had been broken into despite the fact the door had been pushed back into place to disguise the invasion. It was one of many, he was sure. Not the best for his purpose, but the closest. It would do.
The echo of boots in the concrete stairwell meant it was now or never.
He didn't like never.
He pushed in through the doorway ready for the inevitable fight. The shock. The screams.
Voices came thick and fast, some startled and angry others slurred and listless; mostly men, but there were a couple of women. They screamed as he knew they would. Bodies scrambled in the dim light; some in search of clothes, snatching them up from where they had been abandoned. At least one of them was reaching for more than a discarded shoe. He charged right into the middle of the chaos, his hands held up to show that he was unarmed. Not a threat. They need to understand he wasn't a threat. He was a victim. Hopefully, they weren't good Communists. He was banking on that slim hope.
"Помогите мне!" he said.
He wasn't begging. He looked back over his shoulder, making it obvious that he was being chased, and knowing that these kinds of people wouldn't like the people chasing him. He'd led them, literally, into a lion's den.
One of them nodded toward a screen door—the kitchen. He stepped through it. A woman stood over the sink. She wasn't doing the dishes. She seemed to be marking out lines of coke. He stood with his back to the wall. He could see the door through a trick of perspective, from a mirror in the kitchen to a mirror in the hall.
The first man appeared in the doorway. He carried a Kalash. A Kalashnikov Automatic. A monster of a gun. It didn't help him.
The first gunshot came a heartbeat later.
A single shot followed by the crash of the gunman stumbling backward into the doorframe.
The second shot hit as he slid to the floor, leaving a smear of blood on the faded flowered wallpaper above his head.
His fingers closed on the trigger of his automatic, the pistol bucking as he unleashed a hail of bullets indiscriminately into the drug-hazed smoke filling room. If the gods came in bullet form, he'd just released an entire pantheon into this small space, silencing all unbelievers.
When the bullets stopped, he was dead.
The second man wasn't so eager to die. He paused beyond the threshold, out of line-of-sight. But once the shooting stopped, he made his move, coming in fast and low. The apartment was filled with echoes and silence and the smell of death.
He watched the hunter through the mirrors as he turned over the corpses in search of his target, kicking them with his booted foot, so their jaws jutted out proudly in the face of the reaper. Obviously, the target wasn't amongst the dead. There were three other rooms in the small apartment. He gestured for his companions to go right and left, checking each room off.
The woman had given up on the white lines and curled up in a ball beside the kitchen sink. Above her head, an open window waited. He could see the wrought-iron railings of a fire escape.
The metal groaned under his weight as he descended.
He moved as quickly as he could without his feet clanging on each step, knowing it was only a matter of time before they realized where he'd gone. Every second he could gain the better; every step could make a difference.
The staccato rattle of gunfire filled the air before he'd descended a single floor.
Lights went on in some of the flats. The sensible ones stayed dark. Whatever was going on had nothing to do with them; they knew better than to be nosy. Curiosity killed more than cats.
He heard the door above him swing open.
He didn't turn around to look.
He couldn't afford a moment's delay.
He stumbled as his foot reached the cracked concrete at the bottom of the stairway. His knee bent and he fought to stay upright as the clatter of pursuit sounded hot on his heels. The entire fire escape trembled beneath the weight of it. The gunman was descending fast, gaining on him. There had been three of them in the apartment, but now it sounded as though only one of them had followed him out of the window, which meant the other two had gone back out to the walkway and would work their way around to the back of the apartment block.
He ducked into the blackest of shadows, hugging close to the building.
A light went on inside one of the ground floor rooms, throwing bright light over his face for a second before he ducked back into shadow.
It was enough to give him away.
No point in trying to be quiet now.
To live he needed to run like the wind blowing through the canyons of the city. Anything else meant death. He was a rat in a maze, three ratters looking to feast on him before he found the cheese. He could only hope he knew these desolate streets better than his hunters did. He risked the briefest of glances at his watch. Ten minutes—that was all he had. If he didn't get there in time this would all have been for nothing. Dying was always a risk. It came with the territory. Failure though, failure belonged in another zip code.
He turned a corner, heading away from the ranks of tower blocks, running hard for the main road. Cars, some with only one working headlight, rumbled along the poorly lit road. Some drove so slowly, crawling along the curb, that their purpose was clear. A Saab slowed to a halt a hundred yards ahead of him. A young woman with bleached blond hair and a skirt that barely covered her goods bent down to talk to the driver. She thrust her hip out, advertising it to the other drivers as if to say, Look what could be yours, the freshest meat your rubles can buy. The red sequins on her skirt glittered cheaply in the streetlight. He kept running right toward them, willing the driver to move on.
She opened the passenger side door and slid inside.
She slammed the door.
He was too late. The window had closed.
She was being withdrawn.
He kept on running, willing her to see him. The car pulled away from the curb, crawling toward him. He glanced over his shoulder as the gunman came skidding around the corner.
Then the saw the girl's hand reach out through the open passenger side window. She'd recognized him. He had one chance as they were pulling out into traffic to make the handover. His fist closed around the secrets he'd risked his life to get out of Mother Russia. He made the drop, literally and figuratively, letting the package fall into her hand as their fingers brushed. He didn't break his stride. Maybe the gunman saw it, maybe he didn't. The Saab accelerated away.
He ducked right, relief surging through his system. He'd done it. The information in that package was worth dying for, and now it was free. The woman would get it back to her handler, and he'd get it out of the country. In silent warfare, it would be a whisper that would be heard all around the world. And it was down to him.
He had three choices. Left, right or straight ahead.
He chose left.
He chose badly.
It took him into a blind alley between apartment complexes that opened out into a courtyard for the neighboring buildings to hang their laundry and beat the dust out of heavy rugs. There was only one way out of the courtyard. Back the way he'd come.
He raised his hands above his head, knowing that he had nowhere left to run.He lowered his head. He'd made a mistake that would cost him his life.
But he hadn't failed. That was all that mattered.
He turned slowly. He looked up as the first shot was fired.
He didn't feel it.