There has been some speculation that Book 5, Defilade, ends the series. This is not true. There is a 6th and potentially final book that closes out the series. I say potentially as there is a possibility, note I state possibility, that a 7th book or maybe a few more are still out there waiting in the wings.
For those of you who want a little sneak peek at some scenes from #6, here you are:
“We do have an exit strategy, right?” Lance Corporal Anders asked as he fired his rifle at the approaching mass of infected.
“We do. Hold on while I think of something really spectacular,” Staff Sergeant Reginald Oakland replied as he dropped out the spent magazine and reloaded his M27. If there was a high value target in this area, they’re Zed food by now.
“Goins! Get Lighthorse on the horn! Tell them we are Sierra Oscar Lima and in need of immediate extract!” Oakland yelled out as he serviced the targets in his zone of responsibility.
Marine Force Recon Team Able had been inserted into Lake Erie hours earlier after receiving their mission objective, the recovery and extraction of a high profile person or information on the whereabouts of said HVP. In the weeks following the tactical nuclear strike, entering a large city, any former major population center was risky. The radiation count was still high enough to cause health issues if there was prolonged exposure. And there were the infected that for some reason, still roamed the areas, apparently unaffected by the detonation of nuclear weapons and residual radiation.
Team Able had made landfall without contact and began moving inland. A firestorm had ravaged most of the waterfront leaving nothing but black, charred, skeletal remains of what were once structures and vehicles. The streets were clogged with abandoned vehicles and hastily made barricades. Travel through this maze was slow. Slower still while wearing full MOPP-4. It wasn’t until they had reached the two mile mark that they were truly fucked. These infected seemed to have evolved if that was even possible. They had waited until the recon team was deep into the metal maze before pouring out of the buildings and encircling them. Half of their team had been swallowed up including their sniper and OIC before the rest had fought their way to the roof of a small, semi-collapsed self- storage complex.
“Sergeant! I got Lighthorse!” Goins called out.
“Outstanding,” Oakland commented as he reloaded then keyed his radio.
“Lighthorse, Lighthorse, this is Ripper. We’re in a world of shit and need immediate extract. How copy?”
“Ripper, Lighthorse, what’s your pos?”
“Lighthorse, Ripper, we’re three klicks south, southwest of the waterfront. Marking with strobes.”
“Copy that, Ripper. We’re on the way. Mark your area with smoke.”
“Negative Lighthorse, we’re marking with strobes. Be advised this is a hot LZ.” Dusk was fast approaching; no way could an aircraft see smoke at night. There was a long pause on the radio before the MH22 pilot came back.
“Copy that, Ripper. How will I know where you’re at?”
“Jesus Christ,” Oakland muttered before keying the radio. “Lighthorse, Ripper, just look for all the fucking tracers going downrange and that’s us.” This is going to suck.
“Copy that, Ripper, ETA five mikes.”
Oakland glanced at what was left of his team then down at the massed infected. They might be able to stay alive for the next five minutes.
“Hold your mud, Marines! Extract is five mikes out!”
Wait, are those new characters you’ve just read about? They are. I’m sure some readers will be happy about this and some will not. Shit happens. To keep a storyline alive, you have to infuse new blood once in a while.
With that in mind, we’ll return to some of the known characters, the SEALs of Shark Platoon:
“Move! Move! Move!” Willis yelled out over the weapons fire.
Rogers and Smith ran to the corner of the building and took up covering positions.
“On me! On Me!” Rogers yelled.
“Coming to you!” Hannaberry yelled, firing a short burst from his MK48 into the infected that had moved into his sector before he ran to where Rogers was.
“Tempest, Tempest, this is Saber. Where’s our fucking extract?!” Willis yelled into his radio, dropping out a spent magazine and inserting a full one. He pressed a finger to his ear trying to hear over all the weapons fire but was unable to decipher what was being said. “Fuck!”
“Ell-tee! Move!” Webb yelled as he brought his weapon around to point at his OIC. Willis dropped flat as Webb fired into the space he had just occupied blowing apart the head of one of the infected.
“Go! Go! Go!” Willis yelled as he scrambled to his feet and grabbed hold of Webb’s tactical vest. Willis dragged/pulled him towards the rest of the team.
The SEAL detachment used the abandoned cars for cover as they bounded down the road, laying down suppressive fire and disengaging from the cannibalistic horde that was descending on them.
“Loading!” Rogers called out as he dropped out the empty mag and slapped a full one in place.
“Move! Move! Move!” Willis yelled as he fired into the mass of infected that grew larger by the second.
“On me! On me!” Hannaberry called out as he stopped, turned and fired a burst from the MK48 to cover the team as they moved.
“Coming up on the left!”Johnson called out as he moved.
“Loading!” Smith called out as he dropped an empty mag and inserted a fresh one.
“On me! On me!” Willis yelled as he moved behind a car.
“How many of these fucker do you think we can take?” Rogers asked as he reloaded.
“More than you,” Hannaberry answered as he slapped a loaded drum into his MK48, stood and fired into the infected.
“Fuck you,” Rogers replied as he leaned over the roof of the car and fired into the horde.
Not to forget the group of survivors at Firebase Cascade:
Martin and Smiley checked their gear. They both knew that it was only a matter of time before the infected massed outside the walls would not be able to get in. What concerned them were the increasing cases of sickness being reported within the walls.
“This is a bad one, J,” Smiley said as he stuffed his tactical vest with loaded magazines.
“It was a matter of time,” Martin said as he checked the action of his rifle before he seated a full magazine. “You about ready?”
“I just need to pre-tourniquet against any wounds,” Smiley said as he began wrapping strips of cloths around his legs. “Did you know that the Moro tribesman used to bind their testicles? They thought that self-inflicted pain immunized them from anything their enemies might inflict.”
“Uh, yeah. I didn’t know that,” Martin said, somewhat at a loss of words. “I’ll pass.” He watched Smiley for a few more seconds as the other man moved up to wrap his arms before he walked out of the building. Outside, leaning against the wall and sweating profusely, Mike Ackley waited for him.
“What are you doing here, Gunny? Doc had you on bed rest,” Martin said.
“Fuck that. I’ll get all the rest I need when I’m dead.” Ackley nodded his head towards the door that Martin had just exited. “Smiley doing his pre-tourniquet thing again?”
“You ever get the impression that his elevator just doesn’t reach the top floor?” Ackley asked.
So there you have it, a sure sign that there will be a 6th book. The projected release date is sometime in the fall of 2016. As the book moves to completion, there will be a solid date posted.