Paladin of Shadows

Paladin of Shadows

"The Paladin of Shadows" or the "Kildar series" is a series of books written by Military sci-fi author John Ringo and centering around the life of ex-SEAL Mike 'Ghost' Harmon, who in the second book becomes a quasi-feudal "de facto" nobleman known as "the Kildar" leading a odd group known as the Keldera. This series is a military fiction thriller with atypically direct treatment of sexual subthemes. Some would say it's a Mary Sue with bad boy behavior taken to the max of wish fullfillment. Like James Bond, many a male would love to unleash the side of Mike Harmon Ringo reveals in the very integrated first three books.

Ringo was consumed by the idea as given in his own words per the CDROM introduction bundled with the hardcover:cquote|the Idea had me locked up. All I could do was run the scenario, over and over again, getting it more detailed as time went by.

This continued until August when I finally decided that the only way to kill the beast that had me trapped was to write it. I started the book shortly before Labor Day and, in five days, completed 64,000 words. In the event, Ringo wrote the first three novels in a binge of creativity he described as follows in the same introduction:

cquote| From the beginning of January, 2004, until early March, I turned out three novels and a couple of novelettes in a burst of creativity that was, for me, unprecedented. And then…it all stopped.

There were various reasons for this, but one of them was that I had an Idea for a story that wouldn’t let me go. And I also didn’t want to write it.

The reluctance to write it is explained because of the strong sexual involvement that are integral both to the plot and the private demons of the main character which involve "outre"' sexual kinkiness such as Bondage and discipline (B&D), Sadism and masochism (S&M), and the sexual slave trade in Eastern Europe, Asia, and the Balkans. Politically, Mike Harmon can do things as an outside operative Ringo would like the government to do.

Introducing the Ghost

Mike Harmon is a horny, disgruntled, dissatisfied, unfulfilled thirty-something history major in near constant friction with his" 'far left' "professors and classmates at the University of Georgia, Athens campus where he likes, sometimes when the mood strikes, to stealthily lurk in the shadows and startle unwitting co-eds coming out of the shadows suddenly to help teach them situational awareness as they unwittingly put themselves in jeopardy from sexual predators. Harmon it turns out, has chained an inner beast who would like to be the sexual predator, and get a kick from the control and forced sex he loathes. Lurking in the shadows with no particular reason to return to his apartment one evening he suddenly witnesses a van slow down and make a very professional snatch of a young lovely he'd just startled into a greater degree of caution with a discrete cough. Acting instinctively, Harmon reacts as trained, reasons he can cut the corner and catch the van at a nearby corner it has to traverse egressing the region, and flings himself aboard as it makes the turn.

Some miles later we've learned in the process of his reasoning that the casual kidnappers, are assessed as serial kidnappers, and then as something more as he espys a guard and reacts per training again. In the next few pages we learn Harmon is not only highly skilled, having spent over half his service career as a trainer of US Navy SEALs but has a impulsive side reminiscent of Cervantes Don Quixote. Investigating, he finds a crew of nearly a dozen middle easterners packing up a container truck full of shipping coffins each containing a kidnapped near naked drugged up co-ed. Peering through the window Harmon is himself surprised and momentarily captured by a roving guard. The status of prisoner lasts but a moment as the violent well trained man of action perceives and acts on a seizing a moment to disable and take out the guard—permanently. Harmon reasoning the police would be too long delayed decides he must act to aid the women, even as the first container truck leaves the facility for an unknown destination, Harmon correctly infers is abroad and by air.

He takes on the terrorists in the warehouse in the hopes he can discover the destination of the truck, but unfortunately kills all the upper level terrorists who might know. What information he is able to glean from the low level survivor is a false lead, but luck intervenes and having given chase, he manages to covertly secrete himself in the front wheel well of the a jumbo jet carrying the kidnap victims. Along the way, he'd grabbed a satellite phone from the dead terrorist leader, and hopes with it to report the whereabouts of the kidnapped women.

eries basis

The series stars a hero who, under other circumstances, might well be considered a monster. Mike Harmon is fantastic in battle and when given a mission to accomplish always successful. But he's also a self-acknowledged sexual predator with internal demons that have to be carefully restrained lest they commit atrocities that would turn him into a true monster.

However, he considers rape to be a violation of the warrior code, which he defines as; Protection of the Innocent, Courage in Battle, Loyalty to the King. He thus channels his desires into an intense sadomasochistic streak, and luckily has little trouble finding willing "bottoms".

=Book 1 - 'Ghost'=

At the beginning of this book, Mike Harmon is enjoying the benefits of being an ex-SEAL by living the campus life in the United States. The liberal attitudes of his classmates and professors are ruining the fun for him, however, so the kidnapping of a young woman by terrorists off the street in front of his eyes is a welcome distraction. This story follows him through a series of interesting anti-terrorist missions across the globe as a completely independent contractor with the US 'three letter agencies' and also introduces us to his darker side in regard to bondage, domination and sado-masochism (BDSM), often in excruciating detail. Published October 4, 2005.
* [ free online edition]

Book 2 - 'Kildar'

In this book, Mike (In search of beautiful prostitutes) stumbles across an almost forgotten group of people in the country of Georgia. These people, known as the Keldara, are a fierce group of warrior farmers who descend from an ancient Varangian culture. Fascinated by the place, Mike purchases the castle on the hill with a quantity of terrorist bounty money and goes about learning the ways of his new 'people' who, as he is their new 'Kildar' are willing to follow his orders. Published February 28, 2006.
* [ free online edition]

Book 3 - 'Choosers of the Slain'

from jacket:Mike Harmon’s commando-quality retainers agree: their leader, code-named Ghost, is a peculiar one. An ex-Navy-SEAL, there is no stronghold he cannot penetrate, no target he can’t take out. But Ghost is also a man struggling to keep the animal inside at bay and his twisted sexual desires satisfied with a rock-hard integrity and incredible force of will.

Now Harmon and his militia have been hired to rescue the daughter of a powerful political mover in America, kidnapped into the Eastern Europe sex trade.

Welcome to the Balkan Route: a notorious pathway for human trafficking carved with blood and brutality and passing through Serbia and Montenegro, Croatia, Albania, Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Kosovo to the heart of darkness itself: sexual snuff houses where powerful politicians pay to rape and murder young women for kicks. Turns out some of those politicians hail from Washington, D.C.

But now the Route is about to be re-Routed, and the balance of power is about to shift dramatically – to the smoking muzzle of onevery angry ex-SEAL’s M-4.

Sometimes it takes a bad man to destroy an even more terrible evil. And the baddest of them all is Ghost. They’ll be sorry they made his girls cry.

John Ringo, veteran of the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne and fivetimes New York Times best-seller with over a million books in print, delivers another blockbuster military technothriller with the latest entry in his “Ghost” saga.
* [ free online edition]

Book 4 - 'Unto the Breach'

In this book, Mike and the Keldara are recruited to enter Chechen territory and destroy a stolen WMD. His troops undergo difficult trials just to reach the weapon, which is being sold to Islamic terrorists. Their attempt to fight their way back to the valley of the Keldara is blocked by a flood of Chechen terrorist troops and they fight a battle reminiscient of Rorke's Drift.

This mission is complicated by Harmon facing a self-conflict as he has never before experienced. The Keldara practice droit de seigneur with suitable Kildars to replenish their small gene pool, and in the course of one such ritual "opening", he finds himself seriously infatuated with the woman in question. He is thus torn between his sexuality and his honor; send the woman's husband into battle to die so as to take her for himself, or stand aside as is his duty as Kildar.

From jacket:Michael Harmon has been there and done that. Rescued co-eds, killed major terrorists, stopped nuclear assaults. Now he'd just like to kick back and relax with his harem of lovelies. Unfortunately, the world keeps turning.

Mike and the Keldara are back tracking down terrorists, rogue Russian bio-scientists and the doomsday weapon to end all doomsday weapons. It's going to take some very tough, hard and nasty people to stop the end of the world. Fortunately, there's Mike Harmon.

The Hero of Ghost, Kildar and Choosers of the Slain, along with his company of elite mountain fighters, is sent on a mission to stop an advanced smallpox plague from being turned over to terrorists. But that will only be the beginning as the Kildar and his Keldara rush to stop a host of WMD attacks, coordinated to take out the very heartland of terrorism's enemies. It's a battle for culture, and this time the terrorists aren't aiming at just one building.
* [ free online edition]

Book 5 - 'A Deeper Blue'

released July 07.Mike Harmon (A.K.A. The Kildar) is requested by the US government to intervene in a suspected terrorist incursion of the Continental United States (CONUS).

From jacket: Heart-sick over the deaths of so many of his Keldara followers, and one in particular, former SEAL Mike Harmon, hero of Ghost, Kildar and Choosers of the Slain, decides to sit this one out. WMDs headed for the US no longer matter to the Kildar. But when his best friend and intel specialist both are seriously wounded in an ambush aimed at him, the Kildar gets his gameface back on. Mike has always said that he's not a nice guy, and he's about to prove it to a boatload of terrorists and Colombian drug dealers. Set in the Bahamas and Florida Keys, A Deeper Blue is a fast moving thriller that never slows down from the first page. With the return of some old faces, the action-packed novel proves, once again, the adage that sometimes it takes some very bad people to do good things.
* [ Sample Chapters]

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