Mission From God
Mission From God (2008) is the prequel to Lost Tango in Paris and is the very latest actioner from the maestro Cyril Clunge. The work introduces the reader to Jack Small, ex-monk and SAS assassin on secondment to NATO as he travels the World rubbing out bad guys.
A single bell tolled as the clouds scudded across the stormy December sky. A figure moved quickly through the deserted cloisters of the Abbey of Our Souls – a monastery on the outskirts of Croydon. The figure pulled his coarse brown habit tightly around his neck against the biting winter chill as he crossed the courtyard.
An ageing monk appeared from a side entrance to the living quarters and called out to the fleeting figure. ‘Ah, Brother Jack! So kind of you to attend prayers.’ he laughed. ‘My apologies for my lateness Brother Abbot. ‘I’ve been over in the town teaching the youngsters at the dojo a few moves. ‘I hope I’m not too late?’ ‘No matter’ replied the Abbot, ‘Your time here is coming to an end, so I’m sure we can overlook your absence this once.’ ‘Thank you Brother Abbot, you’re a good man, but if you’ll excuse me, I have things to attend to.’ The Abbot smiled, nodded and scurried away to prayer, but not before Jack had demonstrated a textbook roundhouse kick – his foot motionless inches from the Abbot’s face.
Brother Jack Small was something of an enigma. Jack had been raised entirely by the brothers of St Eustacia of the Blessed Incontinence since childhood when he was discovered as a babe, wrapped in a carrier bag in a half-submerged shopping trolley that had been dumped in a filthy canal. The unwanted child had since blossomed in to a chisel-jawed and muscled adult, schooled in the ways of the Catholic Church, a speaker of five different languages and master of several martial arts. The other monks at Our Souls jokingly dubbed him ‘The Bad Habit’ – but never to his face.
Jack opened the heavy wooden door to his room. It was more of a cell. Large enough but spartan, with a single cross-shaped window at the far end and a basic cot with a wooden pillow and sack cloth blankets that provided rudimentary comfort.
The dim winter light danced across the glittering array of weaponry that festooned the damp stone walls: throwing axes, shuriken stars, swords, daggers, flails, nunchukas, genital cuffs and ball gags – not all of it used for martial arts. The centre piece was a well used punch bag that hung from a thick oak beam in the rafters. It was on this that Jack honed his skills to perfection. The bag itself was an old army kit bag that had been filled with concrete, but it did the job perfectly.
Jack undid his habit and let it fall to the floor, the filtered wintry light revealing a rippling and oiled torso. Jack had his own way of praying and sat down cross-legged on the cold stone floor – clad in nothing more than crude Hessian underpants and sandals.
After several minutes of controlled breathing exercises and self-flagellation, Jack slipped in to an almost trance-like state before becoming aware of an unusual sensation. The temperature had dropped dramatically and Jack began to feel uneasy. There was a presence in the room. Jack opened his eyes and turned to see a bright shaft of light shining through the small window – the beam casting an illuminated crucifix on his punch bag.
The light became brighter and brighter – almost too bright to look at. Terrified, Jack could make out a shape forming from the ethereal light. A woman’s face appeared. Then the voice spoke. ‘Be at peace dear Jack. ‘Do not be afraid.’ ‘Who are you?’ Jack stuttered. ‘I am the Blessed Virgin and I have a message for you Jack. ‘Your time here is done - you have learned well. ‘It is now your turn to teach and pass on the knowledge. ‘Your destiny awaits Jack. ‘You will undertake an incredible journey, travel the planet and save the World, and in turn will be justly rewarded with titles and riches beyond your wildest dreams – or anyone else’s for that matter. ‘But whilst one ordeal ends another one begins Jack. ‘You must become a soldier – and not just any soldier Jack. ‘You must become a special one – a soldier of The Lord. ‘Goodbye Ji... er Jack - and good luck!’
The voice stopped and the shimmering apparition faded. Jack was left looking at his punch bag. Now he knew what he had to do. He hastily packed his meagre belongings and his weapons cache in to a hold all, dressed and bid farewell to the cell that had been his home since childhood.
The bell tolled and the heavy gates of the Abbey creaked slowly open. Out of the interior gloom emerged the DPM-clad figure of Jack Small: warrior, soldier of The Lord and a man on a mission... from God. Jack got in to the taxi and looked back one last time at the Abbey and the monks that had gathered to bid him farewell. The Abbot smiled and waved as the taxi pulled away towards the bright lights of Croydon in the early evening twilight. Next stop the CIO. It was time to join the SAS and save the World from evil.
Universally derided by the literary elite as fanciful rubbish - and good for nothing more than preventing coffee tables wobbling, the extremely unlikely character of Small is nevertheless given the Clunge treatment and is made totally believable in a non-stop, roller coaster ride of action and adventure. Mission From God is currently Latvia's number one bestseller.
McNab meets The Da Vinci Code. Awesome! - The Sun
Fuckin' poofter - Eddie Stone ex-SAS
Will it never end? - Times Literary Reviewa