Early 1944, and with the tide of the war flowing steadily against the Germans, the SAS - born in North Africa as a strategic raiding force behind enemy lines - is performing a similar role in the Italian mountains and French forests. Here, after making common cause with local partisans, they are cutting rail and road links serving the frontline German armies. Hitler knows as much and is determined that the SAS will pay a terrible price for their efforts.
In the Central American republic of Guatemala, government-sponsored torture and mass murder have reduced the Mayan Indian population to a despairing acquiescence. After 500 years of struggle, it seems as if the conqueror's peace can at last be proclaimed in the capital. Then a guerrilla leader whom the authorities have long believed dead springs mysteriously back to life. No loyal Guatemalan can identify him, and the government is compelled to seek help elsewhere.
It's 1996. A terminally ill father desperately seeks answers to what happened to his son, missing for 20 years. He has the names of two Argentine men - one in Mexico City, the other imprisoned on the Colombian island of Providencia - but no one to ask the questions. A missing girl's family have given her up for dead when they stumble upon a Miami newspaper story mentioning two of her friends. One has just died; the other, half deranged, tells a garbled story of sexual slavery on a Caribbean island which sounds suspiciously like Providencia.
Bosnia, 1993. A small army of Serbs, Muslims and Croats, formed to defend the isolated mountain town of Zavik and under the command of Reeve, a renegade Briton, has begun mounting raids further afield in search of food, fuel and medical supplies. All sides in the civil war are enraged by its exploits; even UN mediators recognise the need for its suppression. But there are only two people Reeve will listen to: his ex-wife and an ex-comrade in the SAS.
July 1981: while Gambian President Jawara attends a royal wedding in London, Marxist rebels seize power. Fearing armed intervention from neighbouring Senegal, they take hostages - including one of the president's wives and several of his children - and empty the prisons in a desperate search for allies in the coming struggle. As opposing factions of the police force wrestle for control, prisoners settle old scores, slaughtering almost 2,000 Gambians. In tourist beach hotels, hundreds of Europeans fear the worst.
The end of the 1980s sees the rise of the cocaine cartels of Colombia - criminal organisations as powerful as armies, whose malign reaches stretch from the coca fields of Bolivia to the streets of London and New York. Needing help in the training of its elite Anti-Narcotics Unit, the Colombian government turns to Britain and the legendary SAS.
Ultimate soldier. Ultimate mission. But can the SAS storm a fortress prison held by Muslim terrorists to rescue a group of British tourists? In 1994, in the newly independent state of Uzbekistan, a party of mostly British tourists is on a day excursion from the fabled city of Samarkand when Muslim fundamentalists hijack their bus.
Ultimate soldier. Ultimate mission. But can the SAS prevent the launch of Exocet missiles at the British Task Force? May 1982: as the British Task Force prepares to retake the Falkland Islands, a lone Sea King helicopter makes an apparently forced landing in the southernmost reaches of Chile. The only threat to the Task Force - and the enemy's only hope of ultimate victory - is Argentina's Super Etendard aircraft and their sea-skimming Exocet missiles.