In the fifth episode, Tenth Man Down, Sharp finds himself on his toughest assignment yet: to reclaim a lucrative African diamond mine held by Kamangan rebels and escape the evil spell of a Sin'ganga or witch doctor. To make matters worse, as Sharp and his men move in, they discover the rebels are being supported by ex-US Navy SEAL mercenaries. As they try and uncover the hidden agenda, Sharp is taken prisoner with comrade-in-arms, Whinger. In line with the Sin'ganga's predictions, Whinger is brutally slaughtered, leaving Sharp to break the conspiracy and reunite with his team alone.
Ryan's mean, lean, fast-moving prose is filled with colourful military descriptors and salute- inducing narrative: "I wanted to introduce him to Pen-y-Fen, the mountain whose silhouette is supposed to be graven on every Special Forces man's heart." And for those not familiar with military jargon and the Kamangan dialect, there's also a glossary to guide you through thorny verbiage. Akin to reading a solider's diary, the action in The Tenth Man Down is gritty, straightforward and believable. --Susan Queue