T he narrative offers us more than its fair share of suspense. Switching the airplanes over the Sahara in order to highjack the landing slot at the Heathrow and the pandemonium that follows when a jumbo full of terrorists has landed there. Readers will be shocked with the realistic description of the blast of a tactical nuke in the heart of Westminster with the purpose to render all electronic equipment in Whitehall useless. The climax is however, when in the last seconds of the story, the already mentioned Mani climbs the London Eye to make it possible for a colonel of the Chinese Army to disarm the ten-megaton fission device that has been perched on top of the Ferris wheel and guarded by a suicidal fanatic.
The action unfurls in more than thirty different locations worldwide. From Cyprus to Urumqui in Western China; from Windsor Castle to backs-of-beyond of the Sahara. From Krasnoyarsk in Siberia to the mountains of Austrian Tyrol; from the White House to a village in the forest belt of West Africa. Consequently the novel abounds not only in nail-biting situations and occasional fits of hilarity but as well with breath-taking descriptions of such exotic places like Djenum Thelerteba in the Hoggar Mountains or Idhan Murzuk, an enormous see of sand between Libya and Niger.
Basically, Harampasha is an explosive thriller. However, it is rife with socio-psychological deliberations and offers a down-to-earth analysis of the feeling of righteousness, of commercial and non-commercial exploitation of human spiritual needs and ultimately, of blind bigotry, terror and terrorism.
The book is equipped with the Glossary of Arabic and other uncommon words.
London Gatwick Airport
(5.23 p.m. local time)
Everything was ready for the landing exercise. The sharp boys from the Air Traffic Control had been following the Blackjack on their radar screens for the past thirty-five minutes and now they had established visual contact. The supersonic bomber appeared like a black dot in the western sky.
Following precisely the instructions from the Gatwick tower the Tupolev had made a big loop to avoid the contaminated area along the Thames and over Greater London. It had darted into the British airspace fifty-five thousand feet above the Median Line, some sixty miles east of Great Yarmouth, at the precipitous speed of Mach two. There it had begun to reduce speed and height. In two minutes and even before they had reached the English coastline its speed fell to only Mach one. It had flown over Cambridge at thirty thousand feet and continued in the same south-western direction. Ten minutes later, twenty thousand feet over Oxford it had gone subsonic and changed its course to dead south. It had continued to drop speed and height rapidly. Somewhere over the rolling landscape of Hampshire it made its final turn and got aligned with the runway at Gatwick.
With its nose slightly up and with its wings in landing position the supersonic bomber touched down. The drizzle had stopped some time earlier but the runway was still wet. A cloud of water drops billowed in its wake. A swarm of technical support vehicles sped along and a similar multitude of army vehicles were gathering at the spot where the Tupolev would come to its halt.
Colonel Yak Ko Yak was the last to leave the bomber. He was confused and highly embarrassed for appearing clumsy in that funny pressure suit. But as soon as he got into the hands of the British soldiers they forced him into yet another even clumsier and more uncomfortable NBC suit with gasmask, thick rubber gloves and funny oversized boots.
‘Do you speak English?’ A high-ranking officer of the welcoming party asked him.
‘I do,’ he mumbled through the valves of his gasmask.
‘Follow me. We are on stand by. Still waiting for orders to move.’ The high-ranking officer took the Chinese colonel to one of the helicopters and made him comfortable in the canvas seat next to the door. Waiting was always the worst part of a soldier’s duty.