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Kirk Collough McGarvey knew that someone was coming for him again. Wishful thinking or not, he'd had the feeling all through the fall semester where he taught eighteenth-century literature at Milford College on Delaware's east coast. At the odd moment he would stop in mid-sentence and glance at the door, half expecting to see someone there. Or he would pick up the telephone in his apartment, certain that it had rung, but there'd only be the dial tone. It had been three and a half years since he'd last had any contact with the CIA, or with anyone from official Washington, and nearly that long since he'd spoken with his ex-wife, Kathleen, although their only daughter, Elizabeth, now twenty-one, came down from New York several times a year to see him.

But he had no answer for her. Simple boredom? Once a field man always a field man, that was the drill, wasn't it? Pushing fifty, he wasn't over the hill yet. He was a tall, muscularly built man, with a thick shock of brown hair starting to turn gray at the temples, and wide, honest eyes, sometimes green, at other times gray. He ran ten miles and swam five every day, rain or shine. He worked out with the college's fencing team to maintain his coordination. And once a month he spent an afternoon at a local gun club's firing range.

He'd not lost his edge, but as the CIA's general counsel, Howard Ryan, told him in Murphy's office three and a half years ago, he was an anachronism. The bad guys have packed up and quit. Time for the professional administrators and negotiators to take over and straighten out the mess. Thanks for a job well done, but we no longer need shooters. Bad times, he thought, getting out of his car. He headed over the sand dunes to Slaughter Beach on the bay. It was a few minutes after three, the day cold and blustery.

At the top of the last rise he stopped to watch the whitecaps march down the bay in regular rows. The wind was gusting to thirty-five knots. Spits of snow drove out of a leaden sky, and he could pick out the shape of a southbound container ship well out into the bay heading for warmer climes. More years ago than he wanted to remember the Company had sent him to Santiago to kill a general who'd been responsible for hundreds of deaths in and around the capital.

But his orders had been changed in midstream without his knowing about it. After the kill he'd returned to Washington a pariah. He'd run then to Switzerland until he'd been called out of retirement for a brief but particularly nasty assignment. No one thanked him. There were no welcome-home parades, no presentations at the White House. He was paid and went to ground next in Paris until his call to arms had come again, as he knew it would.

Ryan was just as wrong three and a half years ago as he was now. The world may have become a much safer place with the demise of the Soviet Union as a superpower, but there was still a need for a man willing to kill. A man, McGarvey sometimes thought of himself, without a past. Or, more accurately, a man driven by a past from which he was trying to escape.


Looking back toward the highway he watched until the blue Ford Taurus pulled onto the beach access road, then he headed the rest of the way down to the water's edge. The beach was deserted, as he knew it would be, and as soon as he was out of sight of the parking area, he transferred his Walther PPK automatic from the holster at the small of his back to his jacket pocket. It was possible that someone had come from Langley to offer him another job. But it was just as likely that someone out of his past had finally come gunning for him.

Lately he'd been having his old recurring nightmare in which Arkady Kurshin was climbing up out of a flooded tunnel. The Russian was impossible to kill, and he was coming for revenge. The wind-driven spray raised a mist from the beach that smelled faintly fishy—seaweed, salt, and probably some pollution. But not an unpleasant odor.

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After his parents' ranch in western Kansas McGarvey preferred almost any smell other than the prairie. He stopped a hundred yards down the beach and half turned so he could look out to sea while at the same time watch the dunes toward the parking area out of the corner of his eye. The wind was picking up, and he made mental note to take it into account if he had to make a crosswind shot. The slow-moving 7. A man wearing a dark, thick-collared jacket and a baseball cap topped the rise, stopped a moment, and then headed directly toward McGarvey.

He was of medium height, perhaps six feet, and moved with the sure-footed grace of an athlete. But he wore gloves, so he was no immediate threat, whoever he was. You couldn't fire a gun while wearing gloves. As he got closer, McGarvey made the judgment that the man was not from the Company. There was something about his bearing, about the way he came straight on without looking left or right, that made him seem like a soldier.

The man was not a cop or field officer. But he'd asked about McGarvey on campus this afternoon. Administration had sent him over to Humanities, and Evelyn had called to warn that a visitor was on his way. McGarvey thought he might know it, but he couldn't dredge up the connection. Maybe somebody from the Company, after all, maybe not. She and the dean and the chairman of the school's board were the only three on campus who knew anything about McGarvey's background.

But good teachers were hard to find, and Milford wasn't Ivy League, so as long as his past didn't interfere he was accepted with open arms. His eyes were blue, and the expression on his face was guileless, almost little boyish. Portland, Oregon. They shook hands. Guerin was the second-largest designer and manufacturer of commercial aircraft in the world behind Seattle's Boeing, with every bit as much prestige as the older company.

Nearly every airline in the world flew Guerin equipment. Not even Europe's Airbus Industrie, which was heavily subsidized with government money, could outcompete the company. Your name was mentioned. Murphy was Director of Central Intelligence. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Breaking Point , please sign up.

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Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. With the fall of the Soviet Union came a shift in world power and the Communist threat moved to China. Lying relatively dormant since the Korean War, China was satisfied to watch on the sidelines as the Cold War got colder. The arms race was costing more and more as new weapons were being developed and then replaced, even before they really saw significant action.

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The costs of developing and maintaining these weapon systems and a large military prescience, combined with the relative economical i With the fall of the Soviet Union came a shift in world power and the Communist threat moved to China. The costs of developing and maintaining these weapon systems and a large military prescience, combined with the relative economical isolation of the Soviet Block eventually attributed to their downfall; turning them into a paper tiger.

The Peoples Republic of China wasted no time in filling the void.

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After World War II, a civil war in China eventually ended in a shaky truce when the opposing forces retreated to the island of Taiwan. Armed to the teeth and with the protection of the United States, Taiwan has remained free and independent of mainland China but her presence irritates like a cyst that refuses to heal. Shi Shizong, a dissident considered a capital criminal by the Peoples Republic and they were going to make an example of him.

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When a group of Taiwanese Special Forces liberates Shizong from prison, international relationships take a critical turn. Something desperate and dangerous has to be done to prevent a possible nuclear incident, which could easily escalate to war. As an old chicken farm inmate, the scenes on the USS George Washington brought back both fond and bitter memories. I hate war but love reading about it. If you like war fiction, as I do, I recommend this book highly. Anna rated it it was amazing Jun 28, Blairb rated it really liked it Jun 16, Alex rated it really liked it Apr 13, Staszek rated it it was ok Sep 12, Karl L.

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