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WAR, INC #1: Mission: Third Force


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Michael Kurland
6" x 9" softcover
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(Available in eBook edition)

Classic cold war adventure by Michael Kurland ...

In the late 1960s, the Cold War threatened the survival of mankind. The map of the world was being recolored. And so, to help keep the uneasy peace a new group of mercenaries was born, known as Weapons Analysis and Research, Incorporated.

WAR, Inc., did not supply fighting troops. It did supply training, equipment, systems, advice and technical knowhow for using the equipment of modern warfare. Its men were carefully-selected experts at their jobs, men such as Peter Carthage, formally a major in the Intelligence branch of the United States Army. 

Now he leads his men into the hostile jungles of Bonterre, to prevent the overthrow of its government by guerrillas and the mysterious Third Force known only as ‘X’…

This rare and difficult-to-locate mens adventure series returns to print (and eBook edition) in spectacular new editions from Bold Venture Press.

Produced under license from Cosmos Literary Agency.

WAR, Inc. © & TM 2020 Michael Kurland. All rights reserved.

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  • 5
    First of this great short series

    Posted by Michael Brown on Aug 25th 2023

    The folks at Bold Venture Press reprinted an interesting trio of works by Michael Kurland. Kurland is probably better known for his series of works on Professor Moriarty or maybe his Sherlock Holmes works. I’ve covered the Professor Moriarty series already. WAR Inc. #1This trio was written in the 1960s for Pyramid Books, but they didn’t ask for anymore. As it wasn’t planned to only be three works, but the first of a series, I’m not going to call it a “trilogy.” These were written during the “spy-fi” crazy kicked off by the James Bond movies that spawned a variety of works in fiction, movies, and TV. Some of these were more over the top than Bond was, sometimes being satirical or even soft porn. This series is one of the better-written ones, in my opinion. The series concerns a private U.S. organization, WAR Inc., and in particular the missions of Peter Carthage, a former major in the U.S. Army. WAR Inc. is Weapons Analysis and Research Inc. This is the height of the Cold War. So WAR isn’t so much a mercenary group, but a group providing research, training, equipment, systems, advice, and technical knowledge. But their men, who are drawn often from the military, not just the U.S. military, have a broad brief. As it is the Cold War, they hope to help neutral nations who would be wary of asking either the U.S. or Russia. While Peter is the main character, there are others who make up WAR and will appear in several of the stories. They include Dr. Steadman, founder and head of WAR; Eric Jurgens, Swedish and expert in combat, training, and weapons; Prof. Perlemutter, German and head of propaganda; John Wander, electronics and communications; Bob Alvin, computer expert, and others. Their level of involvement in each novel will vary. So not so much a spy series and not so much a mercenary fighting force series. Mission: Third Force kicks things off with a brief intro to the activities of WAR Inc. before we have a brief look at the nation they will be helping, the former French Indochina nation of Bonterre. WAR Inc. is approached by Bonterre’s ambassador to the U.S., who is a cousin of the king of Bonterre, who fills them in on the issue. Bonterre is a long-standing kingdom, but after the French left, the king turned the nation into a constitutional monarchy. Now they are plagued by a guerrilla force that their armed forces aren’t able to deal with. Not helped as there seems to be a group of “right wingers” who are helping the guerrillas in hopes this will cause a loss of faith in the government and they can take over. So Peter has a big task ahead of him. Lead a group of WAR experts to train and prepare the armed forces to deal with the guerillas, while also having to deal with traitors in the government allied to the rightists who want them to fail. They have to help expose “X,” the secret head of the rightists, expose who is behind the guerillas, and not get killed themselves. And he has to deal with two women: one a rich plantation owner, the other the secretary to the king, who is the ambassador’s daughter and thus related to the king. And there is a CIA operative who would rather Peter and his folks back the rightists in their upcoming coup attempt. We also get a good intro by Kurland on the series, which reveals that the Pyramid picked the book titles, and a brief bio of Kurland. Overall, I enjoyed this series. This is a well-written series, with a very plausible organization and characters, though I felt the stories too quickly wrapped up, but I am sure it was to focus on the action. And this may have worked against the series originally. I think at the time it seems those works that are a little more outlandish were able to succeed. Maybe more sex and violence? Maybe a little pushing the envelope in plausibility? The last one pushes the plausibility a little, but perhaps not enough. I wish there were more. The reprints are also well-designed, with good cover artwork and layout. I think the third volume has the best cover.