main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Kickstarter Message
TV Tropes Needs Your Help
Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here and discuss here.
View Kickstarter Project
Creator: Dale Brown
Not to be confused with the other author named D. Brown. Also not to be confused with Dale Brown, former basketball coach at Louisiana State University.

Once upon a time, there was a member of the United States Air Force. He spent his days as a member of the Strategic Air Command, specifically a navigator-bombardier. He was rather good at it.

Then he retired and started writing books. These books involve super-planes, such as the EB-52 Megafortress, a stealth escort bomber. They also sometimes involve nukes being let off. The main plotline through most of his stories involves USAF bomber navigator Patrick Shane McLanahan and his involvement with the supersecret High Technology Aerospace Weapons Center "Dreamland". After McLanahan went his own ways from "Dreamland", Brown also collaborated with Jim Defelice to write more stories centred on Dreamland.

He made the plot for a Real-Time Strategy game, Act of War, which features some of the tropes found in his books.

    His books: 
  • Flight of the Old Dog - When a Soviet laser cannon threatens the deterrent value of American strategic forces and other means of destroying it fail, disillusioned bomber navigator Patrick McLanahan is brought into a secret programme to take a Super Prototype stealth bomber on an Airstrike Impossible against it.
  • Silver Tower - in which an American space laser mounted on a space station does battle against space Russians IN SPACE!.
  • Day of the Cheetah - in which a Russian spy attempts to steal an advanced, mind-controlled fighter jet. Does that sound familliar?
  • Hammerheads - in which drug runners are taken out by V-22s launched from an oil-rig air base
  • Sky Masters- When an overconfident Chinese Admiral is put on the ropes by the Filipino navy, he resorts to nuking 'em to save his bacon. Emboldened, communist elements within the Filipino government stage a coup. The resultant escalation draws contenders on both the American and Chinese sides, with an early version of the B-2 as Dreamland's dog in the race. Comes with hilariously inaccurate portrayal of both nations' governments and militaries.
  • Night of the Hawk - in which a friend thought dead is still alive but in Soviet hands, and the Dreamland crew must save him before the CIA get to him.
  • Chains of Command - Back in Desert Storm, Daren Mace rightfully aborted a secret mission and was ostracised for it, dropped into the USAF reserves where his path crosses with Rebecca Furness, the USAF's first female combat pilot. When a border skirmish between Russia, Ukraine and Moldova goes nuclear, them and theirs are hurled headlong into the power plays of the Russians.
  • Storming Heaven- in which drug lord Henri Cazaux causes the unplanned destruction of the San Francisco International Airport, decides that Evil Feels Good, and becomes a super-villain powered by the sexual energy of Satan. No, seriously.
  • Shadows of Steel - When Iran gets frisky with its new aircraft carrier, a secret commando unit is sent by the US to try and deal with it. Unfortunately, things go horribly wrong. In response, people close to the POTUS ask McLanahan out of retirement to support special operations against it. Can he get over his trouble with his hostile copilot before it's too late for the rest of the Gulf?
  • Fatal Terrain- When Taiwan finally decides to declare independence from China, a cunning Chinese Admiral comes up with an Evil Plan to nuke Taiwanese bases, North Korea and Guam while painting the US and Taiwan as the aggressors.
  • The Tin Man- in which McLanahan's cop brother gets shot by terrorists and he breaks out the eponymous Powered Armor in search of the culprits.
  • Battle Born- McLanahan is out to pick up some new talent for Dreamland and sets his eyes on a group of maverick National Guard pilots. However, South Korea pulls off a plan to forcibly reunite the penisula, earning China's ire. As the situation goes From Bad to Worse, the only hope of averting a full-blown war seems to lie in the hands of these unreliable upstarts.
  • Warrior Class - in which a Russian oilman plans to restore Russia's glory with a Balkan pipeline and some Soviet Superscience of his own, and will brook no interference from the West.
  • Wings of Fire - After the previous book's events, McLanahan has become part of a new "Night Stalkers" N.G.O. Superpower, dedicated to "firefighting" across the world. When they act against Libyan aggression, however, disaster causes the mission to turn dangerously personal, not helped by the return of an old enemy.
  • Air Battle Force - in which a seemingly straightforward strike against a Taliban group becomes much more complicated when the Russians use action against that group as a pretext to take on Turkmenistan.
  • Plan of Attack - The Neidermeyers above Patrick have finally gotten tired of him showing them up, not helped by the events of the previous book, and have him grounded, confined to an insignificant desk job. When his Cassandra Truth about rapid Russian remilitarisation comes true in a brief burst of brutality, though, Dreamland are the only ones able to repay Moscow for their atrocity.
  • Act of War - When eco-terrorists nuke a major installation of a big conglomerate, it inspires a tough response from the US, who stand up a high-tech joint FBI-Army unit to search for the culprits. However, the mishmash of young hotshots, barely kept in check by an old wardog, may not be up to the task of battling this elusive, resourceful foe, and the rabbit hole goes deeper than anyone initially knows.
  • Edge of Battle - in which US-Mexico relations grow horribly tense thanks to the warmongering of a drug smuggler masquerading as a revolutionary.
  • Strike Force - in which McLanahan is asked to intervene in an Iranian power struggle, one where he has to go Enemy Mine with the former Big Bad from Shadows of Steel against the Russian-backed theocrats.
  • Shadow Command - in which a new Russian president plots the destruction of Dreamland while the Iranian power struggle continues.
  • Rogue Forces - in which McLanahan's new PMC is called into action over Iraq when Turkey's fight against Kurd rebels spills dangerously into Iraqi territory.
  • Executive Intent - The testing of a new American Kill Sat has Gone Horribly Wrong, giving China and Russia the leverage to challenge American domination of space.
  • A Time for Patriots - The US economy has gone down the sewer some time between the previous book's events and this one. In the face of growing anti-government dissatisfaction, McLanahan forms a group to keep the peace against terrorists and Right Wing Militia Fanatics. However, the biggest threat to him and his may instead come from overly paranoid FBI agents lashing out blindly after a sting operation gone wrong, dragging his son Bradley James into the crossfire in the process.
  • Tiger's Claw - China, having reached an all-new height of power, successfully deploys an antiship ballistic missile, just one of several prongs in their plan to hold off American naval objections to their aggression against Southeast Asia. With the US still mired in economic trouble, though, can its outdated, underfunded forces offer any useful resistance?
  • Starfire - After a major loss in the previous book, McLanahan's son Bradley now leads a team of engineers designing Earth's first orbital solar power plant, which will transmit unlimited inexpensive energy to the whole planet and serve as an important stepping stone to further space exploration. When this industrialisation of space sparks a retaliatory arms race from America's enemies, however, global war once again looms on the horizon.

As a Long-Running Book Series - Flight of the Old Dog was released in 1987 - beware Late Arrival Spoilers.

His books contain examples of:

  • A-Team Firing - Played for Drama in Executive Intent, where a Mjolnir/Kingfisher Kill Sat misses its target of terrorists holding on to commandeered missiles and kills many civilians.
  • Aborted Arc: The takeover of Sky Masters, Inc. in Wings of Fire is not raised in the next book.
  • Adventure-Friendly World: One in which conventional conflicts are still ongoing and repeated nuclear releases have not doomed the world to death in nuclear fire.
  • Airborne Aircraft Carrier - Bombers and transport planes carrying miniature UCAVs.
  • Airstrike Impossible
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us
  • Alternate History - Has touches of this. For example, the mess with Libya in Wings of Fire started when apparent Big Bad Zuwayy carried out a coup against then Real Life ruler Gaddafi in the backstory... well ahead of his actual deposal and death in the 2011 Arab Spring.
  • America Saves the Day - Especially the Patrick McLanahan Series, which also has a heavy dose of Pax Americana flavor within it.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse - Pavel Kazakov from Warrior Class does this several times.
  • And This Is for... - Chris Wohl says this when Vigilante Executing Pavel Kazakov in Wings of Fire.
  • And Your Little Dog Too - The Libyans from Wings of Fire kill Paul McLanahan and abet Pavel Kazakov's henchwoman in killing Wendy McLanahan.
    • Gryzlov from Air Battle Force threatens Patrick McLanahan this way.
  • Anyone Can Die - Dale Brown is not afraid to have multiple-book characters, like Brad Elliott, Paul and Wendy McLanahan face the reaper. A Time for Patriots has Leo, Ron and Jon Masters getting killed off. Tiger's Claw takes out Patrick himself!
    • Went a little overboard in Day of the Cheetah, which was the end of his original book contract and veered into Kill 'em All territory. Later retconned.
  • Arson Murder And Life Saving
  • Attack Drone - Various, such as the StealthHawks and FlightHawks, as well as eventually full Vampires.
  • Author Appeal - Clearly favours bombers.
  • BFG - Tin Men and CIDs have the option of using a man-portable anti-tank railgun.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work - The Chinese assault on Somalia and Yemen in Executive Intent is likened to this In-Universe.
  • Bait the Dog - General Gryzlov gets this the first time he appears in Air Battle Force
  • Bald of Evil - Pavel Kazakov from Warrior Class.
  • Beam Spam - In Flight of the Old Dog the Ice Fortress supposedly can do this to defeat ballistic missiles.
  • Best Served Cold - Zakharov and Chamberlain's motivation in Act of War.
  • Better to Die Than Be Killed: At the end of Sky Masters, the Big Bad Admiral Yin, seeing that his plan is foiled, chooses to blow his brains out rather than return to China in defeat, where he will be humiliated and dishonourably executed.
  • Big Damn Heroes - Turabi gets saved by Tin Men in Air Battle Force and Plan of Attack.
  • Bigger Bad: The Chinese presidents and high commands that tacitly condone the generals' and admirals' actions are portrayed as this, in contrast to the Russian presidents who have directly been Big Bads.
  • Bigger Stick - The entire point of Dreamland and Sky Masters, staying on the bleeding edge of technology. The Americans aren't the only ones with new toys, though.
  • Bittersweet Ending
  • Boring Invincible Hero - Subverted. The team almost never wins overwhelmingly despite their definite advantages.
  • Brainwashed - Dave Luger after getting captured by Soviets. He gets rescued and fixed eventually, but the effects still linger.
  • Broad Strokes: Act of War (the games) are this to the book of the same name. The factions are the same but the continuity has differences.
  • Call Back - Occurs a few times, one of these being Dave Luger's reaction to seeing a former captor in Warrior Class. In A Time for Patriots there are a few, such as the nanotransponders from Edge of Battle being used on the FBI agents and Pat being reminded of Hal Briggs's death.
  • Canon Discontinuity - Day of the Cheetah was replaced with Sky Masters which was replaced with Night of the Hawk. Except...
    • Silver Tower was initially thought dropped from continuity, but the titular space station has reappeared in recent books. A character in Tiger's Claw also makes clear reference to events in Sky Masters.
  • Canon Welding - Characters from works originally not involving Pat McLanahan, such as Rebecca Furness, have made their way into the main continuity.
  • Cassandra Truth - At the end of Flight of the Old Dog, Pat casually mentions to his mother that his absence was due to bombing Russia. Played seriously in Plan of Attack regarding the impending Russian attack and Edge of Battle regarding the seriousness of Comandante Veracruz's plan.
  • The Cavalry
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: In Strike Force Hal Briggs dies under Iranian fire before air support and reinforcements can arrive.
  • The Chessmaster - Admiral Sun Ji Guoming from Fatal Terrain.
    • National Security Adviser Robert Chamberlain from Act of War.
  • Child Prodigy - Jon Masters was one. Dr. Kelsey Duffield from Wings of Fire turns out to be one.
  • China Takes Over the World: The Chinese are a recurring threat.
  • Clasp Your Hands If You Deceive: Tang Shou Dian in Sky Masters.
  • Coitus Uninterruptus: In Sky Masters a redshirt takes an alert call while getting... serviced.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture - Dave Luger faced this during his involuntary stay as a guest of the USSR. Wings of Fire has some redshirts tortured to death by the Libyans. Wayne Macomber experiences this from GRU agents in Executive Intent.
  • Colonel Badass - Pat McLanahan spends some time in earlier books as this before his promotion to the stars. He's not the only one though.
  • Come for the X, Stay for the Y - In-universe, Thorn's appeal is described as "if they had come to see the monster, they had stayed to hear the message."
  • Coming In Hot - In Air Battle Force Pat lands a damaged Vampire on Diego Garcia despite being repeatedly told not to.
  • Cool Plane - the Megafortress. Eventually heavily-modded B-1B Lancers show up. Plus the Black Stallion Space Planes. The Russians sometimes have these, like the Fisikous/Metyor-179 Tyenee/Shadow. Then there are the real-world ones jetting about.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive - Pavel Kazakov from Warrior Class.
    • Harold Kingman from Act of War.
  • Could Have Avoided This Plot: In Shadows of Steel Big Bad Buzhazi is told that he could have avoided getting into trouble with the US had he only destroyed their spy ship but let the crew be, since the US would have swallowed the destruction of the ship in exchange for not letting the truth about it out.
  • Counter Attack - One new piece of Sky Masters tech in Rogue Forces allows a plane to defeat incoming missiles with Frickin' Laser Beams, then attempt to fry the attacker as well.
  • Crazy-Prepared - Sky Masters aircraft can mount Russian munitions and have the necessary code to do so, apparently just in case they ever had to.
  • Cynicism Catalyst - Patrick McLanahan almost losing his younger brother is what drives him on his vigilante quest in The Tin Man, and eventually both his wife and brother get killed.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy - Gryzlov from Plan of Attack tries to be this, but fails.
  • Dark Action Girl - Ivana Vasilyeva from Wings of Fire.
  • David Versus Goliath - Played with in Flight of the Old Dog where the Old Dog, despite being much larger than the pursuing MiG-29 Fulcrum, is the David because it Can Barely Stand.
  • Dead Guy Junior - Bradley, Patrick and Wendy's son, after Brad Elliott.
  • Death from Above - In Sky Masters when the Chinese Admiral is about to nuke Davao City his destroyer was hit by a satellite by the Americans when they maneuvered it to crash on the destroyer.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts - It is possible to drain Tin Men of power, after which they become vulnerable to small arms.
  • Deceptive Disciple - Zakharov from Act of War.
  • Defiant to the End: Hal Briggs in Strike Force flips off the antiaircraft cannon about to kill him.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life - Pat at the start of Flight of the Old Dog.
  • Dirty Business - Some attackers on a Dreamland facility express regret that the EMP device used to disable a CID will also fry the operator.
  • Dirty Communists: Essentially what his Patrick McLanahan Series runs on- Chinese and Russians tend to be portrayed as irredeemable, unintelligent, or both.
  • Disproportionate Retribution
  • Dissonant Serenity - Thorn demonstrates this in Warrior Class; it's noted that some find it calming/comforting, while others find it annoying.
  • The Dog Bites Back: At the end of Edge of Battle, Zakharov gets killed by a sheriff who he had shot In the Back earlier.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: Judah Andorsen in A Time for Patriots.
  • Dragon Ascendant - Gregory Townsend, Big Bad of The Tin Man, was The Dragon to Storming Heaven's Big Bad Henri Cazaux. Also, the Big Bad of Fatal Terrain, Chinese Admiral Sun Ji Guoming, was subordinate to that of Sky Masters.
  • Dragon-in-Chief - Zakharov from Act of War.
  • The Dreaded - Pavel Kazakov from Warrior Class, to the point that even the Russian higher-ups don't dare to mess with him.
  • Driven to Suicide: Jeremiah Paulson from A Time for Patriots.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Most of the characters get to die in combat. Jon Masters, on the other hand, suffers the ignominy of dying to a car bomb.
  • Elaborate Underground Base - One of these shows up in Fatal Terrain.
  • Elite Army: Dreamland rely on extremely high tech equipment to make up for their few numbers.
  • Enemy Mine -
    • In Air Battle Force the Taliban detachment end up working with the Turkmen and Americans against Russian invaders.
    • Edge of Battle has Zakharov working with Task Force TALON after Commandant Veracruz's double-cross.
    • Strike Force is centered on former enemy Buzhazi asking for American assistance.
  • Ensign Newbie: Hal Briggs is a Major in Shadows of Steel, but being given command of a Marine-comprised commando unit leads to this, especially with his experience coming from Army and Air Force.
  • Establishing Character Moment - Gryzlov from Air Battle Force has this. His Bait the Dog shows his care for his people, as well as his utter ruthlessness against the Rodina's enemies.
  • Even Evil Has Standards - Russian general Stepashin from Plan of Attack, a man with no qualms against nuclear sneak bombings against the US, is disgusted by Gryzlov's use of nukes on Russian soil and the man's apathy about possible Russian survivors.
  • Everyone Has Standards: McLanahan is a major Military Maverick, but even he finds the National Guard pilots he's scouting out in Battle Born too lax and defiant for anyone's good. At least at first.
  • False Flag Operation - The Chinese do this in Fatal Terrain to make it seem that Taiwan and the US are attacking them. Pavel Kazakov from Warrior Class does this to trigger a Albania-Macedonia conflict. Zakharov from Edge of Battle does this to make it seem that the American Watchdogs are killing illegal immigrants.
  • Famed in Story AND The Greatest Story Never Told - Pat experiences both.
  • Femme Fatale: Homeland Security agent Cassandra Renaldo in A Time for Patriots, who seduces Bradley to use against Pat.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Pat and Tony Jamieson in Shadows of Steel.
  • Foreshadowing - Brad Elliott's death in Fatal Terrain gets this. Hal Briggs's too, though it's many books before the cheque gets cashed; see Harsher in Hindsight.
  • Foreign Cuss Word - Shows up quite often. Gratuitous Russian is just one kind.
  • Four-Star Badass - Pat McLanahan, amongst others, although the rank means that he isn't in combat as much as before.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams - Anti-ballistic missile and later anti-satellite lasers get used by various factions.
  • Fun with Acronyms - HAWC
  • General Ripper - General Park from Battle Born will go as far as having his president killed to get the codes needed for Nuke 'em in order to fight Chinese aggression.
  • Genre Shift: The Tin Man was the first one to be almost entirely focused on the dirtside perspective, unlike previous titles that were almost solely the flyboys' game. More infantry-centric content started creeping in after that.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Villainous example in Sky Masters. His flotilla in shambles after a Filipino ambush, with only death or dishonourable retreat on the cards, Big Bad Admiral Yin decided to Nuke 'em. Things go downhill from there.
  • Gone Horribly Right - The mess with Kingfisher-Eight in Executive Intent.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong - The mission at the start of Wings of Fire was to simply destroy some Libyan missiles. Then Paul gets killed and Wendy goes missing...
    • In Executive Intent a Mjolnir/Kingfisher Kill Sat misses its target of terrorists holding on to commandeered missiles and kills many civilians.
  • Good All Along: Jeremiah Paulson in A Time for Patriots was never the real enemy.
  • The Great Politics Mess-Up
  • Happily Married - Pat and Wendy for as long as it lasts anyway.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: In-Universe. In Shadows of Steel Hal Briggs is chastened for taking a risk that gets him hurt by a ZSU-23 antiaircraft gun. Guess how he dies, several books later?
  • Heel-Faith Turn: General Samar from Sky Masters.
  • Heel Realization - Fursenko from Warrior Class experiences this.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity - McLanahan and team(s) face this problem, as do Jason Richter and Task Force TALON.
  • Heroic Sacrifice - In Flight of the Old Dog Dave Luger leaves the Old Dog to deal with Soviets and let the others get away.
    • In Fatal Terrain Brad Elliot crashes the crippled "Old Dog" into a Chinese ICBM site
    • In Battle Born Rinc Seaver "de-stealths" his plane to lure missiles away from their intended target.
  • Hostage for MacGuffin - In Edge of Battle Jason is made to give up the CID activation code or let some children get killed. He gives in... and, surprisingly enough, Zakharov doesn't backstab him after letting him and the children go.
  • If I Wanted You Dead...: In Shadows of Steel a back-channel envoy between the Iranians and the US is told that if the President were not in control of the situation, the US would have carried out overt military action already.
  • Immune to Bullets - Tin Men and CIDs have this, although bigger guns still work. One entering the field is usually a sign that it's time to break out the anti-tank weapons.
  • Implacable Man - Tin Men and CIDs can appear to be this.
  • Impossibly Graceful Giant - CIDs
  • In a Single Bound - Tin Men and CIDs can do this through different means.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Though George W. Bush's presidency and his policies never occurred, the US of 2012 is somehow still recovering from a major recession.
  • Inspector Javert: The FBI agents in A Time for Patriots are obsessed with putting Pat away.
  • Instant Death Bullet - Fursenko from Warrior Class averts this by surviving a bullet in the left lung.
  • Interservice Rivalry
  • It's Personal: In Shadows of Steel, being told that Hal Briggs is with the group he is being asked to help convinces Pat to come out of "early retirement" where more nebulous appeals fail.
  • Just Plane Wrong: For a man of his background, he knows surprisingly little about aircraft that originated from outside of the US border. One of the most infamous examples is his portrayal of the Chinese Q-5 Fantan as a copy of the Su-22; considering the Q-5 has been exported to Pakistan even before Flight of the Old Dog came out, he has no excuse for ignorance of this magnitude.
  • Karma Houdini: Chinese President Evils, repeatedly, unlike their Russian counterparts. Also, the Iranian general Buzhazi, who survives Shadows of Steel and returns to benefit from an Enemy Mine.
  • Karmic Death - General Gary Houser from Plan of Attack dies in the same Russian attack that he kept denying would occur.
  • Kill 'em All - Happens in Day Of The Cheetah, originally expected to be Brown's last book. Resulted in a number of later retcons of character deaths when Brown's contract was renewed.
  • Kill Sat
  • Klingon Promotion
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Pat. The world never gets permanently better, an awful lot of people are Ungrateful Bastards at best, hostile and traitorous at worst, and he's seen too many friends and family die violently, but he keeps fighting to make the world better nevertheless.
  • Knight Templar - The US finds itself on the slippery slope to this in Edge of Battle, but ultimately avoids it.
  • The Korean War, or restarting thereof
  • La Résistance - In Wings of Fire the Night Stalkers are aided by the Sanusi Brotherhood who are fighting the usurping Libyan dictator.
  • Lampshade Hanging - in Executive Intent, a State Department official summarizes parts of a supposed plot by China and Russia (which is actually happening), and says the line "I think you've been reading too many cheesy techno-thrillers."
  • Laser Sight - Pavel Kazakov's men in Warrior Class use these to keep some enemies off their principal.
  • Last-Second Chance: Offered to Admiral Tufayli in Shadows of Steel and naturally rejected.
  • The Law of Diminishing Defensive Effort - Invoked in Wings of Fire where Hal tells a Night Stalker new to the Tin Man suit to focus on the job and let the suit shrug off small-arms fire rather than obsessing over cover like a normal foot mobile.
  • Les Collaborateurs: Teguina in Sky Masters.
  • Lightning Gun - From Warrior Class on, Tin Men have shoulder-mounted electrodes that can fire electric blasts.
  • Like Reality Unless Noted: A more generous interpretation, given the clear Alternate History elements already in place.
  • Little Useless Gun
  • Loophole Abuse - The Soviets in Flight of the Old Dog refuse to deactivate the Kavaznya laser under the excuse that the strategic arms treaties never banned ground-based laser systems. The Iranians in Shadows of Steel got their weapons from post-Soviet states that were not covered in the arms control treaties.
  • Ludicrous Gibs - 23mm rounds make a mess of American airmen in Fatal Terrain and Warrior Class. In Strike Force Hal Briggs goes down this way. Also, anything less than an armored vehicle that takes a hit from a Tin Man's railgun. During a Tin Man assault in Wings of Fire (the same one as mentioned above), the team leader admonishes one of the relative newbies for responding to small-arms fire with railgun fire instead of letting the suits automated defense systems handle it.
  • Macross Missile Massacre - In Plan of Attack, Russian missile spam inflicts heavy casualties on the Air Battle Force.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident
  • Make the Bear Angry Again
  • Mama Bear: In Rogue Forces, former Kurdish separatist commando Zilar Azzawi retakes her sword after a Turkish airstrike kills her husband and her children.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard - Befalls Brad Elliott.
  • Might as Well Not Be in Prison at All - In Wings of Fire we eventually learn that this is true of Pavel Kazakov.
  • Military Maverick - McLanahan and the Dreamland old-timers to a tee. The ease with which they disobey orders (admittedly getting the job done, but still) gets them in trouble. A lot.
  • Misguided Missile - In Shadow Command the superiority of the Black Stallions over older planes is vividly demonstrated when Boomer guides a pair of Russian missiles back to the planes that had fired them.
  • Missing Mom - Wendy McLanahan
  • Mnogo Nukes
  • Moe Greene Special - Zakharov from Act of War gets shot in the left eye, but survives. Justified, in that the round apparently ricocheted off a helicopter's rotor and thus lost most of its energy.
  • The Mole: Repeatedly -
    • In Flight of the Old Dog one of these allows for the critical damaging of a space station, gives away two stealth bombers en route to the plot-critical Soviet Superscience Wave Motion Gun and forces the eponymous Airstrike Impossible to get going while You Can Barely Stand... and the whack-a-mole subplot is effectively nonexistent.
    • Day of the Cheetah is centred on one of these getting his hands on a Super Prototype Cool Plane.
    • Act of War has National Security Adviser Chamberlain turn out to be the one giving information away to the terrorists.
    • Michael Fitzgerald from A Time for Patriots. He does a Heel-Face Turn.
  • Mook Horror Show - When Tin Men and CIDs are around.
  • My God, What Have I Done?
  • N.G.O. Superpower - Night Stalkers/Scion/Whatever approaches this. In A Time for Patriots, the Knights of the True Republic are a Right Wing Militia Fanatic group with resources at least on par with the FBI.
  • The Neidermeyer: One inexperienced Captain in Sky Masters. Also General Gary Houser, who upon having a demoted Patrick reassigned to his command in Plan of Attack proceeds to be a Jerkass and disregard Patrick's warnings as him crying wolf until he dies in the same nuclear attack Patrick was warning him about. Then there's Terrill Sampson, who apparently only regarded Dreamland as "a stepping stone" to his next general's star, allowing the high-tech projects to stagnate under his command. He's on the same plane as Houser.
  • Neutron Bomb - Used by the Libyans in Wings of Fire. The results were most unpleasant.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero - In Air Battle Force the ABF prevents a Russian airstrike by destroying the bombers at Engels AFB, but this motivates Gryzlov to do what he does in Plan of Attack.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain - The Russian attempted nuclear strike on Eareckson AFB in Plan of Attack.
  • No One Could Survive That - Why no one thinks to look for Dave Luger after his Heroic Sacrifice in Flight of the Old Dog.
  • No One Gets Left Behind - Subverted in Warrior Class, where Pat goes back for Annie and Dev after they get shot down in Russian territory... and gets into serious trouble with the higher-ups for it.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup - Subverted; the first Fisikous plane is stolen in Night of the Hawk, but they had a second one, as revealed in Warrior Class.
  • Non-Action Guy - Jason Richter starts as one, being not much good without his CID unit, but gets better. Some Sky Masters personnel are also this, never having been military before joining and thus not mentally prepared to use their equipment in an actual combat situation.
  • Not a Game: In Sky Masters, Patrick calls Dr. Masters out on his flippant, overly casual attitude with regards to the oncoming battle.
  • Not My Driver
  • Not Now, Kiddo: In A Time for Patriots, a civvie pilot keeps holding off on listening to his son even after the son has proven that his observations are correct. It doesn't end well for the family.
  • Not Quite Dead - The discovery that Dave Luger is this and the subsequent rescue attempt form the plot for Night of the Hawk.
  • Not So Invincible After All - Pat gets this while using the first version of the Tin Man suit in The Tin Man. Hal Briggs gets this in Strike Force after running into a Russian trap.
  • Nothing Personal - In Warrior Class, one of the aircrew of the Russian stealth bomber says so after shooting down an AWACS plane.
  • Papa Wolf: In A Time for Patriots, when the FBI agents hurt and threaten Brad, Pat pays them right back, forcing them to bug out.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil - Chris Wohl's killing of Pavel Kazakov in Wings of Fire is undeniably vicious and yet very much the least the scum deserves. In Executive Intent the Chinese respond to a Somali pirate attack on one of their vessels by carrying out a massive aerial and amphibious assault and takeover of Somalia.
  • Perpetual Smiler - Jon Masters in Sky Masters.
  • Our Presidents Are Different - Gardner is President Playboy in a big way, as was Martindale. Thorn however, used to be a Badass Special Force officer.
  • Peace Through Superior Firepower
  • Poor Communication Kills - Dreamland has a lot of secret ops that, well, they can't let others know about. Not even allies. Predictably, fighting ensues. In Sky Masters a misunderstood radio call results in a nuclear release.
  • Powered Armor - The BERP "Tin Man" suits.
  • Pretty Little Headshots - Averted with near-loving consistency.
  • Prison Rape
  • Private Military Contractors - Pat McLanahan is official head of the Scion PMC in Rogue Forces.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits - Task Force TALON starts as a mish-mash of FBI agents, "lab-bound mavericks" and hardened veterans.
  • Rage Breaking Point: In Tiger's Claw a Drill Sergeant Nasty has it in for Bradley, accusing him of nepotism and insulting Patrick to his face. Bradley tries to rein in his anger at having his father badmouthed, oh he tries, even swallowing his pride and apologising for near-assault even when the other guy stuffs in a bunch of deliberately humiliating extra conditions... but when the Drill Sergeant Nasty just refuses to let it go and sneaks in one last barb sotto voce, oh, it was on.
  • Ranger - Hal Briggs and Trevor Griffin have gone for the Ranger course. Ray Jefferson was one too.
  • Real Men Wear Pink - Chris Wohl is surprisingly good at looking after kids.
  • Recursive Ammo
  • Redemption Equals Death - General Stepashin from Plan of Attack.
  • Refuge in Audacity - At least twice, the Dreamland team shanghai Soviet/Russian resources to keep themselves going.
  • Renegade Russian - Zakharov from the Act of War books.
  • Required Secondary Powers: The Wolverines have to be limited below their maximum maneuverability because their explosives will prematurely cook off otherwise.
  • Right Hand Versus Left Hand - Americans often trouble Pat McLanahan and his team.
  • Right Wing Militia Fanatic - The Knights of the True Republic, the antagonists of A Time for Patriots, are these.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Every story is prefaced by extracts from news articles that came out shortly before publication, establishing the relevance of the events and equipment featured.
  • Running Gag - Ray Jefferson repeatedly being called a Sergeant in Act of War.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money! - Pavel Kazakov from Warrior Class actually makes something of a system for his regular bribing.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right - At least Once an Episode from the Dreamland old-timers.
  • Sergeant Rock - Chris Wohl and Ray Jefferson.
  • Sequel Hook
  • Shoot the Bullet - Often, though failure does occur at times.
  • Shoulder Cannon - Tin Men have their shoulder electrodes from Warrior Class on, while CIDs have a backpack that allows this.
  • Shrouded in Myth - Pavel Kazakov from Warrior Class.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal! - Tufayli from Shadows of Steel and Leonid Zevitin from Shadow Command fall victim to this.
  • Slashed Throat - In Wings of Fire Wendy gets this, but doesn't die of it. Pavel Kazakov takes a much more severe version.
  • So Last Season - Subverted; the "Old Dogs" are still lethal despite the emergence of the Vampires and the Black Stallions have not obsoleted the Vampires.
  • Something Only They Would Say - Brad Elliot uses some choice oaths in Flight of the Old Dog to let a certain colonel recognize him and bring up tanker support.
  • Something We Forgot - Manuel Pereira in Act of War disappears, is noticed as missing... and nothing ultimately comes of it.
  • Soviet Superscience - While most of their new toys are reverse-engineered from American tech, the former-Soviets-now-Russians did build their anti-sat lasers themselves.
  • Spanner in the Works - In Executive Intent bumping into a random civilian leads to Wayne Macomber getting captured by the GRU.
  • Straw Misogynist: The onscreen ASEAN leaders in Sky Masters.
  • Strawman Political - Oddly enough, both sides- Brown does not like isolationism.
  • Sunglasses at Night - Commandant Veracruz from Edge of Battle.
  • Super Prototype - Averted as later models of Dreamland/Sky Masters/Whatever stuff have better features than the first runs.
  • Superpower Meltdown - A problem with the plasma field-powered Dragon in Wings of Fire.
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death
  • Surrounded by Idiots - Pavel Kazakov from Warrior Class says "I'm surrounded by cowards and incompetents" after Tin Men take over one of his oil tankers.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial - Jon Masters is insistent about what the Loser introduced in Rogue Forces is not.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: In Rogue Forces, Patrick McLanahan sympathises with the antagonistic Turks, recognising that they have a nation-level Dude, Where's My Respect? that drove them to act. A marked difference from The Usual Adversaries Russia and China that get no such sympathy.
    • Pat and Jeremiah Paulson in A Time for Patriots eventually manage to agree that they have common ground, including being wrongfully hounded by the FBI.
  • Taking You with Me
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill - Zakharov from Act of War sends several squads with anti-tank weapons and a helicopter gunship to kill one man. Executive Intent has a Russian fighter jet thoroughly obliterated by a Mjolnir/Thor's Hammer orbit-to-surface kill vehicle, as well as the Chinese approach to taking over Mogadishu.
  • Title Drop
  • Too Dumb to Live - Zakharov from Edge of Battle thinks that the illegal immigrants who tried to take on a CID rather than run away were this.
    • The Yemeni in Executive Intent. After the Chinese prove they're not going to be soft-hearted like the West with their Disproportionate Retribution takeover of Mogadishu, the Yemeni still bomb a Chinese frigate. No prizes for guessing whose shit is going to get wrecked.
  • Turn in Your Badge - Terrill pulls this on McLanahan and Dave Luger in Warrior Class.
  • The Unfettered - Brad Elliott.
  • Unwitting Pawn - A lot of people act as this in Act of War. POTUS Gardner acts as one in Shadow Command.
  • Vigilante Execution - Befalls Pavel Kazakov and Leonid Zevitin.
  • Villain Ball
  • Villain with Good Publicity - The Chinese try to paint themselves as this in Fatal Terrain. Commandant Veracruz from Edge of Battle masquerades as a Mexican nationalist to do this.
  • Villainous Valour - Shown by the Taliban forces in Air Battle Force.
  • War Is Hell
  • Was It Really Worth It? - In Wings of Fire Pat says this after the Night Stalkers get very large paychecks for the mission that saw Paul killed and Wendy missing.
  • Wave Motion Gun - The Soviets' Kavaznya laser system in Flight of the Old Dog is rated at hundreds of megawatts and able to serve anti-satellite duties.
  • Weak, but Skilled: In Sky Masters an outdated Filipino naval group puts a modern Chinese force soundly on the ropes.
  • Weapon of Mass Destruction - In Battle Born, among the weapons used are "plasma bombs" that are explicitly described as transferring the objects their blast converts into the titular form of matter into an alternate universe.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist - GAMMA from Act of War is not above using backpack nukes against the big corporations it believes are ruining the environment. Then it turns out that this was the Deceptive Disciple's idea and the apparent Big Bad is also horrified to learn of it.
  • What a Senseless Waste of Human Life - Zakharov expresses this sentiment in Edge of Battle when Frank Falcone is Driven to Suicide.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We never find out what happened to Fursenko after Warrior Class, and Dave Luger seems to have fallen off the map as of Rogue Forces.
  • What the Hell, Hero? - At least Once an Episode, someone will bitch about Dreamland's methods.
  • What You Are in the Dark - McLanahan warns his group about the lack of recognition at best for their success in Fatal Terrain. This fails to dissuade them.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years - Bradley McLanahan shows this.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity - Yegorov from Warrior Class is suspected of this.
  • Writer on Board: The books, particularly Starfire, don't shy from demonstrating the dangers of appeasement and Chamberlainian giving ground to aggressors. Made explicit in this response of Brown's to a reader's letter. Whether this is Anvilicious or Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped is left as an exercise to the reader.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are - Ken Phoenix is told in A Time for Patriots that he should stop beating himself up over the violence and deaths caused by Right Wing Militia Fanatics.
  • You Can Barely Stand - The titular Flight of the Old Dog starts with both the plane and the crew not at optimal condition and only gets worse.
  • You Have Failed Me - One Russian general gets this in Plan of Attack.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness - Pavel Kazakov from Warrior Class threatens and eventually does this. Commandant Veracruz from Edge of Battle tries this on Zakharov, prompting an Enemy Mine.
  • You Keep Telling Yourself That - Zakharov from Edge of Battle criticises Commandant Veracruz as not actually believing the ultranationalist rhetoric he spouts.
  • You Killed My Father - Defied in Warrior Class, where Pavel Kazakov claims his strike against Albania was not because their guerillas killed his father.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters - A key theme of Shadows of Steel. Discussed by various characters in Warrior Class.

Bulldog DrummondLong-Running Book SeriesDeath Lands
Larry BondPossible WarHomefront
Poppy Z. BriteAuthorsDan Brown

alternative title(s): Dale Brown
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy