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Old soldiers never die... except inside, when they lack a reason to live.
Wes Stauer, a retired US Army Colonel, is slowing dying inside from a lack of purpose, when he receives a plea from help from an old friend: "Our leader's son and heir has been kidnapped. We don't know where he is. We need you to get him back for us. The people who have him are numerous, warlike, and well armed. But money is no object."
Reinvigorated, Stauer assembles his force - old soldiers, sailors and airman - and finds his purpose.
Written by the author of the Carreras Legions books, the Countdown series follows a professional mercenary company as it forms up firstly to mount a hostage rescue, and then later as it becomes embroiled in conflicts not entirely of its choosing.
The books in the series, as of May 2012, are:
- Countdown: The Liberators
- Countdown: M Day
- Countdown: H Hour
It's essentially more or less the Legion Del Cid series, but set on Earth. And in Guyana, instead of Panama.
This Series uses the following tropes:
- Combat Medic: M Day's medics are trained to shoot and heal; the initial cadre was several Green Beret medic.
- Crapsack World: It becomes clear that the world is slowly but surely going to hell, and that civilisation is crumbling.
- Private Military Contractors: The protagonists, who form the company M Day Inc. However, it's simply referred to as "the Regiment", and acts like a proper army.
- Multinational Team: M Day initially began as an all-American force, but then slowly picked up various nationalities; by the time of book two, they have American, British, Canadian, Chinese, Guyanan, Russian and Gurkha soldiers.
- Sergeant Rock: A great many of them.
- In The Liberators, one chopper pilot is humming Ride of the Valkyries as he prepares to launch.
- An interrogator uses Fernandez' playbook when interrogating a journalist, and says he got it out of a book by a hack science fiction writer.
- In H Hour, a line infantry Captain and a special forces Sergeant have an argument on weapons safety in the mess. "This is my safety," says the Sergeant, waving his trigger finger.
- Twenty Minutes Into the Future: The setting of the novels (the prologue of The Liberators takes place around the American withdrawal from Afghanistan.