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Authors: Chris Ryan

The Hit List

BOOK: The Hit List
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The Hit List
Ryan, Chris
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is Ryan was born near Newcastle in 1961. He led the SAS in 1984. During his ten years he was >lved in overt and covert operations and was also >er team commander of the anti-terrorist team, ing the Gulf War, Chris was the only member of ight-man team to escape from Iraq, of which three eagues were killed and four captured. It was the ;est escape and evasion in the history of the SAS. this he was awarded the Military Medal. For his last

years he was selecting and training potential uits for the SAS. le wrote about his experiences in the bestseller The

That Got Away (1995), which was also adapted for en. He is also the author of the bestsellers, Stand Stand By (1996), Zero Option (1997), The Kremlin ice (1998) and The Tenth Man Down (1999). Chris n's SAS Fitness Book is also published by Century, [e lectures in business motivation and security and irrently working as a bodyguard in America.


Also by Chris Ryan

The One That Got Away (1995) Stand By, Stand By (1996)

Zero Option (1997)

The Kremlin Device (1998)

Tenth Man Down (1999)

Chris Ryan's SAS Fitness Book (2001)





Published by Arrow Books in 2001

13579 10 8642 Copyright � Chris Ryan 2000

Chris Ryan has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

This novel is a work of fiction. Names and characters are the product

of the author's imagination and any resemblance to actual persons,

living or dead, is entirely coincidental

This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or

otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the

publisher's prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in

which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition

being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

First published in the United Kingdom in 2000 by Century

Arrow Books Limited

The Random House Group Limited

20 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London SW1V 2SA

Random House Australia (Pty) Limited

20 Alfred Street, Milsons Point, Sydney,

New South Wales 2061, Australia

Random House New Zealand Limited 18 Poland Road, Glenfield, Auckland 10, New Zealand

Random House South Africa (Pty) Limited Endulim, 5a Jubilee Road, Parktown 2193, South Africa

Random House UK Limited Reg. No. 954009

A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

Papers used by Random House UK Limited are natural, recyclable products

made from wood grown in sustamable forests.

The manufacturing processes conform to the environmental

regulations of the country of origin.

ISBN 0 09 940607 1

Typeset in Bembo by MATS, Southend-on-Sea, Essex

Printed and bound in Germany by

Elsnerdruck, Berlin

ii 1!


All the usual suspects, Barbara, Mark, Luke, Hannah and all the rest of the team at Century.

If you believe in the light, it's because of the darkness

If you believe in the truth, it's because of their lies fyou believe in God, then you must believe in the DEVIL


Tuesday 5 November 1991

.3 Eastern Atlantic, due South of Gran Canana

f two men surfaced noiselessly. Raising their diving they scanned the area around them. Nothing, the pale bulk of the Lady Ghislaine and the soft of the sea against her hull. It was 4.30am, and Sugh no hint of dawn showed at the horizon both i knew that time was limited.

they watched, a dark figure showed for a it against the dimly illuminated windows of the am. Moments later a man appeared from the r, a white dressing gown belted around his able waist. Clearly restless, he stood at the rail yeral minutes. The night air appeared to offer relief, however, for after a brief circuit of the sck he turned abruptly on his heel and went I'inside.

water the men glanced at each other. The fi^Ctf the two, his features streaked and obscured by : cream, raised a hand above the surface and


The Hit List

tapped the armoured glass face of his watch. The younger man nodded. As one, they moved towards the yacht's stern. Below them, motionless and invisible, waited the two-man Odyssea submarine in which, four hours earlier, they had commenced their silent journey.

It had been a long stalk, but not a difficult one. The word 'yacht' as applied to the Lady Ghislaine was a serious understatement - if she had been in commercial ownership she would have been called a cruise liner. She had five gleaming decks, weighed 430 tons, and was over 150 feet in length. Her swimming pool could quite comfortably have accommodated six topless models dressed as mermaids, and indeed - to the raucous delight of an invited party of Daily Minor executives -- had once done just that. She was, to say the least, a visible target. And an unsuspecting one. No one was manning her radar that night.

The Lady Ghislaine had set sail from Gibraltar on the Thursday. It had taken her crew two days to sail to Madeira, where the yacht had made anchor at Funchal. There, operatives from London were already in place and working on their tans. They had tailed the target to Desertas beach, where he swam without apparent pleasure, and later to the Central Casino, where he lost a little over .�9000 sterling at blackjack.

On Sunday, the yacht had sailed towards Tenenfe, reaching Darcene Pesquera at 10.00am the following day. Within the hour it had set off again southwards Chris Ryan

Je target remaining aboard throughout. His non pearence was hardly surprising - by then the ational press corps had learned what the target self had known for some time: that his business pire was on the verge of meltdown. The Swiss bank used was threatening to call in the fraud squad. His litors were beginning to panic. 'That was the point at which London had put the

-man diving team on stand-by, when they'd flown miniature submarine into Layounne on the aroccan coast.

Monday evening the Lady Ghislaine was back in Cruz. The target himself was ashore, eating pil- the dining room at the Hotel Mencey. There had a suggestion that the hit might be carried out : there and then - the concern being that he might

a car down to Los Christianos where the Gulf. jet was fuelled and ready to fly him back to Ion. In the event, however, the hit team held i and to their relief the target returned to the yacht t

The Hit List

coast. It carried 500 cubic feet of onboard oxygen and its powerful batteries enabled it to cover up to twelve miles at a rate of two knots per hour. The wet-sub wouldn't have won any races, but it was perfectly adapted to its primary function of covert naval approach. Twelve miles was well outside the target's detection range.

Using a suction device, the younger of the two divers tethered the Odyssea's tow-line to the yacht. None of the crew seemed to be on watch, he noticed -- perhaps the target had insisted that the decks be cleared for his own use. Shrugging off his oxygen-tanks and regulator, moving with the silence and fluency of long practice, he locked it into the specially adapted housing behind the Odyssea's left-hand seat. Beside him, his partner lowered his own gear to the right-hand housing.

From a pouch round his waist the older man removed two magnetic clamps. A cord ran between these clamps and from this he suspended a heavy equipment bag and his fins. Watching as his partner rid himself of his own fins, positioned a collapsible caving ladder against the stern rail and silently shinned up it, the older man opened the equipment bag. Taking care to avoid the percussion of steel on steel, he withdrew two MP5 sub-machine guns, extended their folding stocks, and passed them up to his waiting colleague. Crouching on the varnished teak deck the men prepared their weapons, wincing at the oily clicks as

V Chris Ryan


I the twenty-round magazines snapped home. Ears

ty straining for the slightest sound - a footfall, an opening

Ij, door - they drew back and locked the cocking levers.


I The target shivered and pulled the towelling dressing

gown more tightly around himself. He'd just phoned the bridge to ask for the air-conditioning to be adjusted by a couple of degrees. It was still warm outside, despite the time, but here in the stateroom the air had become uncomfortably cold. It was too cold to sleep, and sleep was what he craved most. A few hours' escape from the pressure - from the desperate worry of his debts, from the inexorable progress of the fraud investigation, from the certainty that the coming share sell-offs would leave his empire in ruins.

He was still one of the most powerful men in the world, but tonight he knew that the end was close. Part of him wished that this journey could go on for ever --just the sea and the sky and the soft thrum of the engines. But he knew that all of that would end within hours. Instead he would be flying back to London for one desperate last stand. Like Custer, he thought wryly - and look what happened to Custer.

Approaching his dressing-table, Maxwell bowed and examined his hair. The roots were growing out again - a centimetre of iron-grey now showed beneath the black dye. Would the law courts have his scalp as well as his dignity? There was little chance he could salvage anything now. If he was lucky, he might escape with a couple of million. And the house, perhaps. And

The Hit List

maybe a couple of cars. Living expenses? He shrugged. He was bored with restaurant cooking, and he had all the Savile Row suits he'd need to see him out. But there would be no more helicopters, no more chummy Pall Mall lunches with ministers, no more Fleet Street boardrooms falling silent as he entered. Face it, he told himself, there was a better than even chance he'd have to stand trial, and maybe even go to jail. He'd done things that no lawyer - not even the most urbane of silks - could possibly defend. Face it, he repeated, it was over. This was the endgame, the king brought down by a battalion of pawns. Checkmate.

Or was it? Was his last desperate gambit going to pay off? Was the wildest card he'd ever played going to win the trick for him?

There was a light knock on the door. Some problem with the air-conditioning, he supposed. And he'd told the captain -- ordered him, dammit -- that he wasn't to be disturbed. Wearily he made his way to the door.

It crashed against him as he turned the handle. Next moment it had been closed behind him and he was being dragged back into the room. He tried to struggle, but his arms were pinned in an iron grip behind his back. There was a crackling sound, and an excruciating pain jolted through his kidneys. He doubled up, retching, and as he tried feebly to straighten lost control of his bladder, warm urine coursed down his leg.

Dizzy with pain and shame, his throat stinging with

Chris Ryan

bile, he sank to a sitting position on the bed. The dressing gown had fallen open, but he was too shocked to cover himself.

The two figures withdrew to the centre of the pale blue Isphahan carpet. Wiping his smarting eyes and running nose with his sleeve, Maxwell saw to his astonishment that both wore black neoprene wetsuits and carried automatic weapons slung in chest harnesses. Their faces were tiger-striped with camouflage cream. The younger man carried some sort of electric prod.

'Mr Maxwell,' said the older man, his eyes expressionless. 'Please sit still. This is your last warning. If you call for help or or try to escape, we will hurt you very badly indeed. To avoid that, just sit still and answer my questions. Do you understand?'

Robert Maxwell nodded. Anger was slowly beginning to replace humiliation. He drew the dressing gown closed around himself. Who the hell were these people? He had any amount of corporate enemies, but none of them would try a stunt like this. Were they Romanians? Mossad? He spoke quickly in Hebrew: 'Ma perush hadaver haze?'

The two men looked at him blankly. The older man stepped forward. 'Mr Maxwell, we don't have much time. We need answers to our questions, and we need them right away. I think you know who we are.'

'I haven't the first idea who you are - and nor, for i that matter, have I got any cash in this room. You're welcome to my credit cards, though - my wallet's in ; the pocket of that--'

The Hit List

'Mr Maxwell, you know who we are.'

The voice was anonymous, but unmistakably that of a born English speaker. A faint burr - West Country? Bristol? - but overlaid by the flatter vowels of the Thames estuary. Could they be MI6? Surely not. If those people wanted information from him they just had to pick up the phone, and they knew it.

'Mr Maxwell, I am instructed to tell you that Dietrich Wegner wants his property back.'

That name. After all these years, that name. The jolt of understanding which slammed through Robert Maxwell at that moment was worse than the electronic prod. He was as good as dead. He looked at them. Saw they knew that he knew.

Seeing Maxwell's shoulders slump, confident that the last vestiges of fight had departed him, the younger man returned the prod to his belt. Beside him the older man unzipped a waterproof pouch that he was carrying round his neck. The silence between the stateroom's three occupants was intimate, almost conspiratorial.

How would they do it? Maxwell wondered. Surely they wouldn't use their weapons? It would make a godawful racket and they'd have to kill the entire crew. But a glance at the tiger-striped faces above him told him that, if necessary, they would do just that. By nightfall they'd be the other side of the Channel, probably watching Match of the Day over a couple of Special Brews. My God, he thought. If there was ever a lethal race put on this Earth it was the English.

BOOK: The Hit List
7.89Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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