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From the bestselling author of Gates of Fire, The Afghan Campaign, and Killing Rommel—comes a stunning, chillingly plausible near-future thriller about the rise of a privately financed global military and the consequences that ensue.
By Steven Pressfield
“Pressfield dominates the military thriller genre.” — Library Journal
“Pressfield’s military thriller stands out from the crowd by speculating on what the next generation of warfare will be like and then dropping the reader right into the action. Clancy fans should give this a shot.” —Booklist
“Pressfield’s impressive research shows throughout this novel . . . a book that paints an all-too-plausible future in which America outsources its dirtiest jobs.”
The world has a long history of paid armies. Today in Iraq and Afghanistan there are more private contractors than conventional military soldiers. Most recently Erik Prince, the wealthy founder of Blackwater Worldwide, was hired by one of the leaders of the United Arab Emirates to create a mercenary army to protect the country’s interests. According to a recent article in the New York Times, “In outsourcing critical parts of their defense to mercenaries . . . the Emirates have begun a new era in the boom in wartime contracting that began after the Sept. 11, 2011 attacks.” While this news came as a surprise to many, Pressfield has been talking about this very scenario for years.
While set a generation into the future, the core of Steven Pressfield’s explosive and brutally realistic military thriller THE PROFESSION (Crown; $25.00 hardcover; on sale June 14, 2011), is not so far-fetched. Pressfield, an ex-Marine who has a deep knowledge of historical and current mercenary warfare, posits a world in which combatants, serving for hire, have been cut loose from the traditional rules of war and are no longer bound by the standards of honor that have long governed Western armies. In his research, questions of right and wrong arose. What are the ramifications of having so many contractors on the ground? For whom do they fight? What does honor consist of in an age where the concept seems almost abandoned by society at large? Does a fighting man require a flag or a cause to claim a code of honor?
The year is 2032. The third Iran-Iraq war is over, the 11/11 dirty bomb attack on the port of Long Beach, California, is fading into memory, and Saudi Arabia has recently quelled a coup. Everywhere military force is for hire. These powerful, cutting-edge mercenary armies are the only means the world’s governments and corporations have to control global chaos and protect their riches.
THE PROFESSION introduces us to James Salter. Before he became a mercenary, Salter was a passionate patriot and a rising star in the United States Marine Corps. But in 2023, after defying the orders of President Cole, he is stripped of his command and banished to the Far East. Now, as commander of Force Insertion, the world’s largest private military, Salter is looking to take vengeance on those responsible for his exile and then come home . . . as Commander in Chief. The only man who can stop him is Gilbert “Gent” Gentilhomme, Salter’s most loyal foot soldier. A warrior at heart, Gent has a menacing new mission: take out Salter, his mentor, to save the United States from self-destruction.
THE PROFESSION is an engaging and provocative story that presents a terrifyingly realistic glimpse into the future of war. At its heart, THE PROFESSION is about the preservation of honor, valor, and comradeship in a society that is desperately fighting against these very values. Like all his novels, Pressfield’s latest delves deep into the minds of men at war while telling a riveting story—with striking immediacy—steeped in military tactics and mind-bending futuristic military hardware.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
STEVEN PRESSFIELD is the author of the novels The Legend of Bagger Vance, Gates of Fire, Tides of War, Last of the Amazons, The Virtues of War, The Afghan Campaign, and Killing Rommel, and the nonfiction book The War of Art.
by Steven Pressfield
Crown • June 14, 2011
Price: $25.00 hardcover • 336 pages • ISBN 978-0-385-52873-3
Also available as an eBook