A Desert Called Peace - Baen Books


A Desert Called Peace


They should have picked their enemies more carefully.

Five centuries from now, on a remarkably Earthlike planet that is mankind's sole colony in space, religious fanatics called the "Salafi Ikhwan" have murdered the uncle of former colonel Patrick Hennessey. That was their first mistake, because uncle was rich and Hennessey was rather a good colonel. But they also murdered Hennessey's wife, Linda, and their three small children, and that was their worst mistake for she was the only restraint Hennessey had ever accepted.

From the pile of rubble and the pillar of fire that mark the last resting place of Linda Hennessey and her children arises a new warrior—Carrera, scourge of the Salafis. He will forge an army of ruthless fanatics from the decrepit remains of failed state's military. He will wage war across half a world. He will find those who killed his family. He will destroy them, and those who support them, utterly, completely, without restraint or remorse.

Only when he is finished will there be peace: the peace of an empty wind as it blows across a desert strewn with the bones of Carrera's enemies.


In 1974, at age seventeen, Tom Kratman became a political refugee and defector from the PRM (People's Republic of Massachusetts) by virtue of joining the Regular Army. He stayed a Regular Army infantryman most of his adult life, returning to Massachusetts as an unofficial dissident while attending Boston College after his first hitch. Back in the Army, he managed to do just about everything there was to do, at one time or another. After the Gulf War, and with the bottom dropping completely out of the anti-communism market, Tom decided to become a lawyer. (Big mistake, way big. Chilluns, don't do it.) Every now and again, when the frustrations of legal life and having to deal with other lawyers got to be too much, Tom would rejoin the Army (or a somewhat similar group, say) for fun and frolic in other climes. His family, muttering darkly, still puts up with this. His novels for Baen include A State of Disobedience and two collaborations with John Ringo, Watch on the Rhine and Yellow Eyes.

Cover Art by Kurt Miller
Maps by Randy Asplund

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This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincidental.

First printing, September 2007

Distributed by Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data:
Kratman, Tom.
A desert called peace / Tom Kratman.
p. cm.
"A Baen Books original"—T.p. verso.
ISBN-13: 978-1-4165-2145-7
ISBN-10: 1-4165-2145-3
1. Imaginary wars and battles—Fiction. 2.
Revenge—Fiction. I. Title.
PS3611.R375D47 2007

Printed in the United States of America

ISBN-13: 978-1-4165-2145-7
ISBN-10: 1-4165-2145-3

Copyright© 2007 by Tom Kratman

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form.

A Baen Books Original
Baen publishing Enterprises
P.O. Box 1403
Riverdale, NY 10471

Electronic version by Baen Books


For Oriana Fallaci, who had more sheer balls – and infinitely more wisdom – than nearly any man on the planet.

And for my comrades, CSM Joshua McIntosh and 1SGs Epolito Martinez and Chris Coffin. Miss you guys. Save me a spot, huh?

Dear Reader:

You can take this book as a commentary on the somewhat cyclic nature of history, if you want. ("History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme.") You can take it as a commentary on the endless war between the Christian or secular West and Islam, if you want. You can take it as a critique of the phenomenon of monocultural planets that dominate science fiction, if you want.

If it pleases you, you can look at it as a cautionary tale on choosing one's enemies well . . . because you are going to become much like them or because they're going to become much like you. If you're of a legalistic mindset, you can think of it as a lengthy commentary on the law of war. If you loath transnational progressivism, surely there is something here for you.

The one thing you must never do, though, it to think of it as a commentary on the current war or the leadership thereof.

Unless, that is, you want to.

Tom Kratman