Surviving the Lion’s Den
Barnes & Noble
Published by: Speaking Volumes
Release Date: October 18, 2021
Following a meeting with the Saudi ambassador to the US, trusted CIA operative Tom Delang is kidnapped by Iranian agents where he is tortured for coveted information. After discovering that Delang is of personal interest to the Russian president, Iranian Revolutionary Guard chief Rahim Shirazi attempts to trade him for a secret missile system that the Russians possess. Together, the two countries conspire to overtake the American military base in Bahrain, currently home to the US Fifth Fleet.
While Delang is locked away, Kirk Kurruthers, an American of Iranian descent with a secret family history related to the 1953 CIA coup in Iran, goes into the country hell bent on revenge for his grandfather’s murder. Little does Kirk know that his arrival in country was part of a larger set-up. Following his own capture, with the help of an Iranian freedom fighter, Kurruthers and Delang risk a daring escape before the aforementioned geo-political events hastened by a blackmailed US Senator spiral out of control.
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Behind the Scenes, Surviving the Lion's Den
Stuck in a narrow alley between two local theaters, Kirk Kurruthers wiped the sweat from his face and rose up slowly from behind a dumpster. He could see the gates of the American Embassy just two hundred yards away. Two Marines stood post on each side, holding long rifles. State Department workers flowed in and out, chatting as if they didn’t have a worry in the world. Smog from passing cars and dirt swirling in the air distorted Kirk’s view of the stars and stripes, waving proudly through a congested sky.
His lungs burned and his throat felt like sandpaper as he swallowed the parched desert wind. The two companions hunkered down next to him were also suffering. Their escape through the mountains had been laborious and demanding. They desperately needed water, but there was no time for pain, excuses, or even fundamental desires. All that mattered was getting through the gates and entering the free space of the embassy. So close. They were so close.
Preventing their entry were two Iranian Revolutionary Guardsmen. They had been hunting Kirk and his associates for the last three days. One of them, Azam, had hosted a fancy dinner for them in the home of a Revolutionary Guard leader only a few days earlier in Tehran.
Kirk’s mind wandered for a second back to the amazing banquet they had offered him, which he thought might have been his last meal until he escaped.
Fat chance of that happening again.
Kirk knew that if he and his friends didn’t make it through those embassy gates, the only food they would see any time soon would be rat burgers at Tehran's infamous Evin Prison, and that was thinking optimistically.
“Did they see us?”
Farhad rasped with a mouth as dry as paper as he tried to catch his breath.
“No, I don't think so,” said Kirk. “They're looking for us, though, for sure.”
Squatting behind Kirk with a hand on his shoulder was their injured, scruffy looking companion, whose unexpected rescue from a torture facility had hastened their escape from Iran. He suddenly began making sniffing sounds as a potent seasoning inside the dumpster crept into his nose.
“Man, the cumin in this dumpster smells good . . .”
Kirk and Farhad glared at the man they hoped to escort through the nearby embassy gates. There was no time for distraction. Kirk gritted his teeth and tried to control his anger.
Farhad stared in amazement. Kirk made no effort to show any understanding and lost his temper. The frustration from the last few days finally caught up with him and he snapped. In one motion, he lunged toward their companion, seized him by the collar, nearly lifting him off his feet, and slammed him against the wall. Too weak from months of torture and malnutrition, the older man was unable to resist, and Kirk was unapologetic.
“Really, numb nuts? Those fuckers over there want our heads on Al-Jazeera and you're talking about food?”
“Kirk, get down!”
Farhad yanked his friend down by the tail of his grungy t-shirt. As he did, the older man fell to his hands and knees on the filthy cobblestones.
It was too late. The Revolutionary Guardsmen heard the commotion and were looking in their direction and one of them pointed directly at the dumpster.
As Kirk's eyes widened, panic set in. He watched Azam and his goon walk toward them with steadfast purpose. There was no more escaping. No more running. Their time was up.