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Sub Zero

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Synopsis

Sub Zero (2005) is a true account of an SBS operation on South Georgia during the Falklands War. Confusingly, the city of Leicester and the act of 'Jundie-slotting' has nothing to do with the storyline whatsoever and was merely an error on behalf of the (assuming) publishers on the initial print run. A revised edition omitted the taglines. Original copies are highly sought after by collectors of Clunge's works and can fetch outrageous sums on eBay... probably.

SBS Corporal Barry McCain is a no-nonsense Ulsterman. Brought up in tough, Loyalist East Belfast, he's the corps' top sniper and a man on a deadly mission.

Excerpt

The four Argentine marines moved gingerly up the foreshore. They'd heard the beat of distant rotors the previous night and a patrol had been sent out to investigate. They'd found nothing so far and the beach was deserted. They smelt it before they saw it: a whale's carcass had been washed up - a gull pecking at the festering entrails spilt from its split belly. The marines gagged at the stench as they passed it, little realising that they were being watched.

As they moved off in to the distance, the gull's feeding frenzy was cut short as a hand slowly emerged from the eviscerated whale. With lightening speed, the hand grabbed the bird, its startled cry extinguished by a deft flick of the wrist. 'That'll do for lunch' thought Corporal Barry McCain, as he drew the dead bird within. McCain had been using the whale's carcass for three days. Using his Leatherman®, McCain had gutted the beast and transformed it in to the ideal hide, sheltered inside from the icy Antarctic elements. It was a bit smelly, but McCain had done the course at Poole - scooping one of the whale's eyes out to facilitate a loophole for his L42 sniper rifle.

McCain had been dropped off by submarine the week before and had spent several days conducting CTR before setting up the dead animal as his LUP. McCain ripped the bird's wings off and removed its head and feet with his teeth before stuffing its body in his bergen for later consumption. It'd have to be eaten cold, as he was on 'hard routine'. No fires meant no hot food - it was too risky. The bird, however, would complement his meagre diet perfectly, providing him with vital proteins in the harsh, freezing wilderness.

McCain watched the four-man patrol grow smaller in his scope as they moved away in single file. It was too good to miss, and they'd never expect a sniper this far south. It had to be timed right. McCain chambered a single 7.62mm round in to his weapon and settled for the shot. The short magazine contained enough ammunition to decimate the Argy patrol, but two, maybe three rounds should do the trick. McCain steadied his breathing, and adjusted his windage to compensate for the stiff breeze - the cross hairs gently rising and falling on his target.

A light squeeze on the trigger was all it took to send the high velocity bullet on its way at supersonic speed. The round smacked in to its target with deadly ferocity, blowing the face off the rear soldier before powering in to the head of the one in front of him. 'Single file boys... big mistake!' laughed McCain as he watched the target's heads explode in a pink mist. Two kills, one shot. It was his party piece - one that had earned him many beers and had sent the admiring crowd in to rapturous applause at Bisley on more than one occasion.

"Hai caramba!" screamed the two Argies, as their two comrades crumpled to the ground in a bloodied heap. McCain quickly operated the bolt action and fed another round in to the L42's chamber. No time for target practice this time, it was a snap shoot. The bewildered Argies were at a loss to where the sniper was and wasted vital seconds in taking cover. Their fate was sealed. Another round left the muzzle and bored through the third Argie's helmet, peeling it in two like a split banana. "Three down, one to go." laughed McCain. It wasn't long in coming.

The remaining Argy, dreading his impending and almost certain demise, seized the initiative. With surprising speed he reached in to his ammo pouch and produced a piece of white cloth and hastily tied it around the barrel of his M16. McCain watched the Argie's pathetic silent cries of capitulation through his optic. "Sorry chum, no dice" hissed McCain. "... and no feckin' surrender either!" McCain squeezed the trigger and dispatched the terrified teenage conscript with ease, the shower of atomised blood and bone fragments drifting away on the cold wind. "Now, time for a snack!" chuckled McCain, as he eagerly tucked in to his freshly caught meal.

Critique

One of Clunge's most graphic works, Sub Zero has, however, been hailed as a modern classic - right up there with other notable tomes... by the same author.

Testimonials

Gritty stuff - Billy 'Three Weetabix' McBride, ex-SBS

Gripping - Globe & Laurel

Good drills - Chris 'The one that got away' Ryan, ex-SAS

Nails - Practical Sniping Magazine

Disturbing - Amnesty International