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I’ve decided to publish a chapter from time to time just because I can and want to and, of course, to hook the reader to purchase Submerged outright and not wait a year for the entire thriller to be published on this site.

Below is an extract of the Information Sheet that has been used by the sales reps to obtain orders from the various bookstores. It turned out to be quite successful as we’ve managed to obtain orders from in excess of 25 Exclusive Books Stores, Book Lounge, SKOOBS Theatre of Books (Montecasino), Readers Warehouse and other independent stores.

*WARNING! THE BELOW EXTRACTS CONTAIN SPOILERS*

SUBMERGED

An international thriller

Who can stop a maniacal Russian and his private army? Surely not a handful of Cape Town gangsters?

In the Cape Flats ganglands,

“Buti placed the bag on the floor in front of the ATM. Sweat drops blocked his view through the balaclava’s holes. He ripped off the balaclava and threw it on the floor.

Screw the cameras.

He removed one dynamite stick, saw it didn’t have a fuse attached, and tossed it back in the bag. He removed another one, saw it did have one but the stick was a bit moist and soggy and the sulphur smell too strong, in his professional opinion.

He chucked the piece back in the bag.

Needs to be just right.

The next one was ok. He fitted it in the opening and saw that there was room to fit another three sticks, maybe four.

Shit, how many did Franklin use when he did the job?

He shook his head.

Let’s be certain, I will put in as many as it can take.

He found three more sticks that were sort of usable. Apart from the faulty ones, a number of sticks remained in the canvas bag that he casually threw over his shoulder.

Okay, let’s do it.

He took out the packet of matches, removed one, and tried to light it. It didn’t take. He tried again with another match without success.

Stop shaking, dammit.

He took out five matches and scraped them against the side of the box, this time it worked.

The amount of sulphur ignited by the matches burned his fingers. He instinctively dropped it.

The resulting explosion flattened the ATM, the 7-Eleven, and the rest of the shopping complex. For some minutes after the explosion, the rain of shredded banknotes enveloped the surrounding area like a cloud of flaming red confetti falling from the sky.”

 

Meanwhile, during a high-risk scuba dive in the Red Sea, Leon must rescue a beautiful but troubled Russian heiress.

“Leon’s breathing quickened when he saw the Tiger Shark approaching him, then turning and swimming in Sophia’s direction.

After a number of strong kicks Leon got Sophia in his sights and he grabbed hold of her ankle but she kicked his grip loose and turned upwards, towards the surface. Superhuman strength caused by the adrenaline in his system, the survival instinct bigger than any other, made him catch her leg again. His dive computer sounded a loud, urgent, ping-ping sound, indicating a dangerous ascending rate, potentially life-threatening. They had risen more than fifteen metres in a few seconds.

He pulled her in like a rope and held her like hugging a tree. She tried to push his arms away and Leon had to use all his strength to hold her down, only just succeeding. He firmly held her torso with one arm and used the other arm to release the air from her buoyancy jacket. They lowered and levelled at a depth of about twenty metres.

Leon held her face and flashed an “ok” sign at her. He looked at her eyes through the mask. There was no response, her eyes were closed. He shook her slightly. Sophia opened her eyes but her cross-eyed stare wasn’t at Leon, she looked through him. Her eyes closed again.

The two French divers, thankfully sufficiently trained and experienced, had slowly made their way towards the two of them.

Sophia’s frail body started shaking, violently, like an epileptic. Leon held her firmly with a strong arm on her shoulder. She leaned forward and threw up, by luck keeping her mouthpiece in place. The vomit came out in spasms, four or five times. Her body went limp and then Leon shook her.

She opened her eyes and took in Leon. Her mouthpiece make a high-pitched tweaking sound from her shallow breaths as she hyperventilated, the build-up of carbon monoxide in her bloodstream reaching alarming levels.”

 

And in the lethal world of Russian organised crime, Sophia’s father, billionaire Bogdan Popov, continues to find innovative methods of getting rid of competitors, oblivious to her suicide attempt.

“He motioned to Van der Merwe, the South African officer, who sat in the first row, to approach. When he got to the front, Van der Merwe lifted his R4 assault rifle, without which he was hardly ever seen.

He wasn’t a man of many words and only said, ‘With this, I smoked a few Cubans.’

Laughter vibrated through the cinema.

A man approached Sinovich and handed him a sniper rifle. Popov got up from his chair, walked across and snatched the rifle out of Sinovich’s hands. He stroked the rifle’s barrel, and looked up.

‘Let me introduce you to my baby, the Dragunov SVD semi-automatic sniper. As the name suggests, it’s Soviet made. The rifle, although designed in the 1960s, is still in service with Special Forces in various parts of the world. My special interest in this rifle, in particular as a sniper rifle, is my pedigree as an Olympic trialist in long-range shooting. I have also used the rifle in an earlier life.’

He looked down and inspected the magazine and cocked it. He placed the rifle against his shoulder and aimed at the head of one of the officers in the back row who was dozing off and squeezed the trigger.

The smell of gunpowder filled the room and the massive explosion in the confined space blew at least two mercenaries’ eardrums. The now fully awake snoozer looked to his left at a three-centimetre hole in the wall. Nobody except Popov knew whether the miss was by accident or not.

‘See what I mean?’ Popov said with excitement in his eyes.”

 

When Franklin and Leon’s paths cross, and after a series of shocking events disrupt the peace and quiet of Franklin’s world, will he rise up from his hibernation and mobilise his gang?

“With an unexpected athleticism, which Franklin didn’t anticipate from his injured attacker, he jumped forward and thrust his knife into Franklin’s left forearm which wasn’t covered by the wetsuit.

Franklin gasped from the intense pain when Sinovich withdrew the knife. He lunged at Sinovich’s stomach but the movement was uncoordinated. Sinovich easily shifted his body off the line of attack and slashed Franklin’s attacking knife arm. Although the cut on his wrist and forearm was deep, it was applied vertically, along the line of his arm, otherwise Franklin would have lost his grip and dropped the knife as the nerves would have been destroyed.

Sinovich moved to the left side of Franklin, leaned forward and sliced across Franklin’s abdomen, this time a deeper cut, tearing the wetsuit once more, drawing more blood. Instinctively Franklin turned around. Sinovich lowered his aim and, with a tennis-like backhanded stroke sliced open Franklin’s exposed hamstring.

Franklin dropped to his knees and fell forward, barely missing another slash from Sinovich.

Despite his injuries, hate and rage enabled Franklin to get back on his feet.

Sinovich’s fatal mistake was that he stayed put and dropped his arms, thinking his job was done.

Franklin, in a final burst of strength, pushed his knife forward and penetrated Sinovich’s neck on the right side. He followed it up with a slash to his throat, opening it up like a rare fillet steak in a steakhouse restaurant.

Sinovich was well-done when Franklin’s knife entered his left armpit. He pulled out his knife with a shoosing sound and jabbed it into Sinovich’s stomach. The final fatal jab to Sinovich’s vital organs caused him to go into shock. He dropped like a buffalo after being shot behind the shoulder blade.

Despite his injuries, Franklin forced himself to stand over the dying man for a long minute, like a matador, blood dripping from his knife with his eyes drilling into the other man’s.

Sinovich’s breath slowed. He opened his lips and Franklin thought he heard him mumble the words, “thank you”.

Sinovich stopped breathing, the life finally disappeared from his eyes. He died with his eyes open.”

 

Will Leon escape with his life from the global-reaching claws of Popov?

And where will Sophia find the courage and strength to slay the inner demons ruling her existence?