Cara, an English journalist, flies into Katanga, the Congo in December, 1962 on a mission to find the truth about the role of the mercenaries in the Katangan war of secession from the Congo.
She stays with Dan, a mercenary pilot whose wife was killed during the ill-fated Operation Morthor. He is morose, self-absorbed and determined to find the truth surrounding his wife’s death.
At Cara’s request, he sets her up with a team of ground force mercenaries who are off on a mission to rescue missionaries from a village in the north of Katanga.
Cara chooses Jed, the leader of the team and Dan’s enemy, as her protector after she is almost raped by one of the men. She sees more horror and learns more painful truths about the brutality of jungle warfare than she has ever dreamed existed.
When Dan finds the truth about his wife, violence erupts and Cara makes her choice between the two men.
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DrBook – 5 stars (Amazon), says, “It is difficult to put the book down. I kept reading until the early hours of the morning.
Suzanne Perazzini writes with skill, leading the reader through the psychological changes and attitudes that Cara develops as she has first hand, sometimes horrifying experiences, travelling with Tshombe’s ground army mercenaries. It is evident that the author has done considerable research into the history of those terrible times.Merciless Truth is a story well worth reading.”
Wendy Vella – 5 stars (Amazon), says, “Perazzini has created a wonderfully rich story in a setting of unrest and civil war. … The characters have real flaws and vulnerabilities and they draw you in from the first page and the plot has twists and turns that you don’t see coming. The descriptions are so vivid that if you close your eyes the jungle surrounds you. Merciless Truth is a gritty, thrilling read that keeps you enthralled till the last page and one I would highly recommend.”
Book fan – 5 stars (Amazon), says, “Merciless Truth is extremely engaging and well-written, with acute attention to detail that throws the reader deep into the story. Descriptions of the jungle and the panic are vivid and visceral- the author takes us to a place of carnage, but somehow makes us treasure the land and its inhabitants- with glimpses of beauty that you pray will become normality for the unwitting victims. The characters are multi-dimensional and well drawn with surprising depth and complexity. Ms Perazzini has created a page-turner that keeps the reader on the edge of her seat – clever twists and unexpected plot points add to a well-rounded story that grips you from the first word and holds you captive until the very end.”
KATANGA, THE CONGO
EARLY DECEMBER 1962
‘Return to base, repeat, return to base,’ Dan’s voice crackled across the air space between his Harvard and the other three planes.
‘Roger, out,’ came back the replies.
Dan glanced below at the mushrooming cloud of dust and smoke – the legacy their bombs had bestowed upon the column of ANC soldiers who had dared to venture beyond the Katangan border. He felt no pleasure at the mayhem he had helped to create below but he had a job to do, and that was to keep the Central Congolese Army out of the independent state of Katanga. It was two and a half years since Tshombe had proclaimed the state’s secession. When the hell would they give up and go home? Still, it was bloody good money flying for Tshombe, so it was of little consequence to him if it continued for years. Most of the ground force mercenaries burnt out before their six-month contracts expired, but up here in the air, above the claustrophobia of the jungle, he could detach his emotions and fly for flying’s sake.
‘Rats at four o’clock, angels one.’ Nick’s voice tore through Dan’s thoughts. He glanced behind, up to the right. There they were. In the distance, two sleek Canberra jets, as long as they were wide, turning towards them. They were primarily bombers, but could be looking for a bit of action – trying to spook them.
‘Bloody do-gooders!’ Dan’s sweaty palms slipped against the control column. ‘Evasive action only. Turnabout right when I say go.’ He held course, his head turned towards the United Nations jets as they lined them up from behind. ‘They’re coming in now…steady…hold your position.’
Shafts of white light pierced the air as the sun reflected off the cold metal of the planes. ‘Turnabout right. Go! Go! Go!’ Dan bellowed.
In unison they turned. Steep and tight. Almost one-eighty degrees. Dead ahead the jets were startled by the counterattack of their prey and banked steeply, forced to break away. Their underbellies flashed pale and racks of bombs glinted like teeth as they swooped silently past, their sound far behind.
Again Dan yelled, ‘Turnabout right. Go!’
As they turned to follow the retreating jets, Dan saw them climb and bank back around towards them. He wouldn’t fire. Goddamn it. He wouldn’t fire. They were the United Nations after all – a peacekeeping force. Peacekeeping? Like hell. Perspiration trickled down his cheek. Why were they interfering anyway? Bastards!
He shook his head to remove the image of Ashley lying dead on that bed in the hotel. It had been their fault.
The Canberras were closing in. No, he refused to shoot. A mercenary he might be, but there were limits.
‘Line astern formation,’ he called over the radio.
The pilots maneuvered their planes one in behind the other, obedient, trusting their leader’s judgment. Dan watched the enemy close the distance between them.
‘Form defensive circle. Go!’ He banked steeply, the others following into a tight, closed circle like wagon trains defending against a horde of Red Indians. Confused, the jets wheeled sharply to their left. They would be forced to attack from above, at right angles to an elusive target. In frustration, the lead jet dropped its nose and let loose its rockets.
‘Hold formation,’ Dan ordered.
The rockets shot past them trailed by streams of white vapor. As the pilot peeled off to his left, Dan could make out the dark features of the pilot, see his resignation that this was not his day for a kill.
As both jets twisted and climbed into the distance, Dan wiped his hands on his trouser legs and kept an eye out for the return of the planes.
‘The rats are yellow,’ Nick laughed over the radio, the relief clear in his voice.
Dan grinned. ‘Head for Kolwezi. I’m late for an appointment,’ he replied.
‘What? No time for a beer?’
‘Nope. Got a lady to meet. Over and out.’
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