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WAR, INC #2: Mission: Tank War


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

Cold War adventure by Michael Kurland ...

In the late 1960s, the Cold War escalated global temperatures. A new mercenary group — Weapons Analysis and Research, Inc., — was born to offer advice and training, and the equipment of modern warfare, to U.S. allies. 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. 

A small, oil-rich Arab nation is about to lose its status as a protector­ate of Britain, and waiting in the wings to invade is a superior enemy force led by Soviet tanks. On a mission to stop them is debonair agent Peter Carthage and the men from War, Inc., a com­pany with an ultra-scientific approach to warfare.

How many men from War, Inc. does it take to stop an army of tanks? Six — plus one beautiful, plucky young British woman deter­mined to rescue a kidnapped brother.

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

Produced under license from Cosmos Literary Agency.

WAR, Inc. © & TM 2021 Michael Kurland. All rights reserved.

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  • 5
    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. In the second novel, Mission: Tank War, we get right into things in the Sheikdom of Jeppet, a soon-to-be former British protectorate in the Persian Gulf that is now oil-rich. And when they are no longer a protectorate, they will need to protect themselves, so Peter Carthage and his WAR team are there to help prepare their military. And they are needed. The minister of defense is the sheik’s brother, and he thinks he is trying to kill him, which he isn’t. A nomadic tribe is causing problems, and being supplied with weapons. There is a rouge organization called the Desert Legion, made up of criminals and rouges, under the leadership of a former German general with tanks. And it seems that Hasan Sabbath is also involved. But Hasan is a historical figure who founded the assassins. Who is he really and how does he fit in? And who is sponsoring the Desert Legion? Is it a foreign government, and which one? And the nomadic tribe captured a British petroleum engineer and his sister is there to find him. Can Peter and his team prepare Jeppet’s military as the day of their independence looms quickly? Can they persuade the nomadic tribe to come on the side of Jeppet? Can their preparations ensure the defeat of the Desert Legion? And can they also handle Hasan? They have their job cut out for them. In the end, it seems like Hasan is set up as a possible returning villain. 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. In looking at the cover artwork of the originals, they weren’t very good. No consistency in the design. The second one had the cover dominated by the title, with very little room for artwork. I think that might have hurt sales. Pyramid did better with other series they did, like their The Shadow and Sax Rohmer reprints, but maybe that was due to other art directors.