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  • Writer's pictureRobert Sadler

Clown of Karakoram

Updated: Apr 29, 2023

Mask of Red Laakhe Clan's Sprit ~ Mask of the Blue Laakhe Clan's Sprit

For sometime now the Michael Grant characters have been wanting to share the story of Michael’s first black ops mission. Which required going back in time to the Barcelona Olympics 1992. It also allowed the reader to learn new information about Elanna, Michael’s first wife, how they met, etc.

In Red Sky (excerpt below) the characters hinted at what was to come in Clown of Karakoram:

It was at that moment that the words scrolling at the bottom of the newsfeed, peaking out from under the snow photo, caught his attention as it flowed across the screen: “Anticipated Ukraine/Russian conflict remains unresolved…”

Unresolved conflict, Michael pondered, it’s like an itch one can’t seem to reach.

Michael switched the newsfeed to the large screen monitor across the room.

He was only paying half-hearted attention when the talking head dissolved into a screen-filling map of what he immediately recognized as the frozen, snow-covered place he called ‘middle earth’.

On the left was Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Islamabad followed by a seemingly large expanse of nothingness bounded on the north by Xinjiang and Tibet on the south, with China on the far right.

Highlighted on the middle of the screen was the single coldest word he knew: Karakoram.

Not that the word was cold, it wasn’t, or meant cold, it didn’t.

What it represented to Michael was a time in his life he had tried hard to forget. A time of frostbite, deprivation and… well…

That’s another story

The chyron at the bottom of the screen kept scrolling, Michael caught the end of the previous text bite: “okesperson… Seventeen men and three women stranded in the Karakoram mountain range glacier field… The search area forms a triangle starting at Muztagy Tower ENE five miles to the apex of K2, then SSE six miles to Broad Peak and 12 miles back to Muztagh Tower, an area of approximately 27 square miles…”

Then the English-sounding voice behind the image was saying: “…and after nine days the search and rescue has been called off. Officials are declaring the climbers as lost.”

It wasn’t until Michael heard the word ‘lost’ that the unpleasant memories of being lost in the Karakoram Mountain Range hit him like a frozen icicle.

Michael shivered in his chair.

I’m here… If it hadn’t have been for the artifact… who knows.

He laughed out loud and said, “Me? the Clown of Karakoram.”

Michael’s mind went where he didn’t want it to go…

A deep crevasse… the object beyond reach… the death… the cold.

The chilling image took him.

Michael saw his hand reaching out in front of him. Saw her small hand reaching up to him and in her tiny Russian/Asian-accented voice Anjuri Xhi calling his name, “Màikèer, Màikèer, Màikèer before fading to one last Mài…”

So now in Clown of Karakoram you have the story of ‘way back then’ which brought that story into the present to find it’s resolution. Also in the present day we learn more about the fate of Westin Atkins Walker who had been the trusted assistant to Assistant Director of Operation, Nicholas Sunny Crawford first encountered by readers in Just before… (book 16) and No… it’s raining, (book 17).

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