Saturday, April 2, 2011

Update and Another Preview

An apology for no new updates on War Plan Crimson.  Work slowed down on the project during March... "technical difficulties," as they say. We're still on target for the book launch - it now looks like late April/early May.  I will keep you posted on this.

As promised, a preview of War Plan Crimson: A Novel of Alternate History, by Michael Cnudde © 2010, Michael Cnudde:

     "It's done." Gerald MacGuire dropped the New York Times onto the long boardroom table. Open to the Obituaries page, it landed with an audible thud. He nodded to the picture of a stern-faced man in his high-collared Marine dress uniform. The caption read:
Major General Smedley Darlington Butler, USMC (1881 - 1934)
     "It's a pity that he didn't play along with us," said another man sitting at the table. The room was dark except for the round pools of light cast by the by the green bankers lamps on the table. He took a long pull on his Havana and then stubbed it into an ashtray.
      "Butler and Roosevelt were old chums since their days in Haiti," said a third man at the table. "Obviously we underestimated the man and his loyalties."
      "We did, and it almost cost our chance to remove that bastard Roosevelt from office," said MacGuire. "We can't afford to make that kind of mistake again."
      "Roosevelt is ruining this country with his New Deal," harrumphed the man with the cigar. He reached into a vest pocket and pulled up another Havana. He struck a match which flared, briefly illuminating his fleshy face. He lit his cigar and began to puff.
      "Gentlemen, we're getting off the subject," said MacGuire. He looked at other two at the table with him. There were others, but these were the two who mattered. If he could convince, them, he had them all. The first man, the one with the cigars, was a media baron; the second man was old New York money, one of the big investment houses. Both were well known and for obvious reasons did not want to be associated with the plot. "We need to find ourselves a replacement for the late and lamented General Butler."
      "Yes, we do," said old New York money. "Whom exactly do you suggest? Mr. Pelley?" There was a hint of a sneer in the darkness. "Or Father Coughlin, perhaps?
      "No." He smiled tightly. "No, but they will be of some use, along with their organizations. But if we are to get someone to assume the head of our veterans’ army when it marches on Washington, it must be someone who has the veterans' respect. He needs to be able to command the nation’s respect, gentlemen. There’s a lot of discontent boiling away out there; we just need someone to give it form."
      "Go on," said the man with the cigar. "I feel you have someone in mind."
      "Oh, I do," MacGuire smiled. He slid a photograph across the table. To be sure, there was something about the man in the photo. His face was certainly stern-looking, with an aura of patrician nobility to it. Perhaps it was the piercing eyes, or the aquiline nose, or the high, almost angular cheekbones or the determined jaw. Or perhaps it was the wisp of white visible under his uniform cap that gave a sense of wisdom. Yes, there was something about the man. "Brigadier General Randall Cray."
      "He looks the part. And I like how his name rolls off the tongue." The media baron puffed on his cigar pensively. Its tip glowed coal-red in the dark. "You know, I really could make him a household name."
      MacGuire's smile grew. "That's what I'm counting on."

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