The Rings of Armageddon, available on Amazon Kindle (www.kindle.com) in print and ebook is a story written originally during my last few months at the Pentagon in 1985. It was revised after the attack in New York and Washington, 9/11, and later revised again to allow for its inclusion in the storyline of the 2nd volume of The Phoenix Agenda Trilogy, The Phoenix Storm, to insure continuity. It stands on its own as a single storyline.
Within this story we learn much about the origins of the Afghanistan War and the directed American involvement in the creation of the Taliban, Students of the Saudi supported madrassasin the Pakistani Northwest Territories who were recruited to fight the Soviets and later morphed into the Taliban with its extreme form of Islam.
The nuclear weapons delivery system, NorthStar, at the heart of this story is dangerous as it violates the 1967 Treaty on Nuclear Weapons in Space. Bombs circulating in earth orbit pose a danger in multiple ways not the least the possibility that they could be launched without warning and without the "launch signal" that most anti-missile and early warning systems look for in the event of a war. Before leaving the Pentagon where I was the Senior Economist in the Office of the Secretary, I priced out the likely cost of multiple nuclear delivery systems from "rail mobile" to fixed silos and submarines. But the NorthStar system would be the least costly of any option and the hardest to find and stop before World War III began.
As an author, however, the character of General Reinhardt is one of my favorite male characters. I find I can write more interesting things about the women in my books and most of the reviews have mentioned this, but often ignore the males. Even Michael Ross, the lead character in the Trilogy is defined more by his relationship to Natalya than by anything he does or does not do. It is her relationship with him that is the underlying theme of the three novels, does she love him or just need him or even just feel protective of him. It is not resolved until the final paragraph of the third novel when she decides she wants to have his baby now growing inside her. But Helmut Reinhardt, winner of three Medals of Honor, is totally conflicted by trying to hide his past involvement during his early years helping the Afghan's fight the Soviets and his close relationship with the Bin Laden character in the novel as well as Ali Hassan, his deputy and now a rich, Qatari banker.
The story was changed to fit the times after 9/11. The original was lost due to it be written on a word processor at the Pentagon during the earliest days of the PC that has been lost to time. No copy was saved in print form, so twenty years later, when I decided to retell the tale after 9/11, the underlying plot of a portable nuclear command and control for weapons already in space was used to deal with the ongoing threat of worldwide terrorism that has meta sized since the end of the Afghan War in 1968.
The Ali Hassan character became a central character in the economic thriller that completed the story that started with the first volume published as The Phoenix Year in 2014, but then revised after the pandemic and in its new form by its original title The Ancient and Honorable Society of the Phoenix. Hassan appears prominently in The Phoenix Storm as the financial backer of the Egyptian cleric Sultan Abass and radio preacher who is trying to unify Islam and turn it into a modern form of religion suitable for the 21st century rather than the 7th century. When the bomb goes off at the end of the Rings of Armageddon, Ali Hassan exits the Trilogy.