"Later in adult life, he moved to another mysterious and provocative city – Las Vegas, just outside the famous Nellis Air Force base. After work he would sit on his porch and watch the fighters take off and land, igniting his imagination with visions of secret missions and rich speculation about what could possibly be hidden at Area 51.
"After moving back to his native Pacific Northwest, Paul worked for the Navy and took every opportunity he could to speak with veterans from WWII to the Gulf War, listening to them swap stories and relate the experiences of a lifetime.
"So it is this combination of a passionate love of history, a vivid “what if” imagination, and a philosophy of life that boils down to the belief that – there are few things in life that a bigger hammer won’t fix – that led Paul to become a writer of exciting, fact-based action-thrillers. His greatest joy is leaving his readers wondering where the facts end and the fiction begins."
Welcome, Paul, and thank you.
Gabriel Pike is the hero of Arctic Fire. He is a common man who suddenly finds himself thrust into circumstances he could never have imagined. While Pike may be struggling to save the world, he is also struggling just to understand his world like we are ours. Below are excerpts from Arctic Fire and some of Pike’s philosophies and thoughts on how he sees the world and his take on life.
Mysteries of life
With steely-eyed determination he took off the little straw and prepared to try and poke it through the tiny serving hole. He could pilot a fighter jet, decipher blueprints that would drive DaVinci mad and balance his checkbook at the end of the month, yet there were two things in life he couldn’t do: figure out what made women tick, and how to put the straw in a juice pouch without spilling it all over himself.
My jet is bigger than your jet
Pike brought the Clipper around for another pass, only this time he came in low and fast. He skimmed over the desert floor at about 500 feet and pushed the airspeed up to 400 knots. Every eye on the ground was watching as he roared by. Pike smiled to himself; this was one of those times when it was good to have your own jet. A couple of the football players raised their helmets and cheered as he went by while several of the cheerleaders shook their pompoms and did a quick cheer. As he streaked by the two drivers gave him a wave and he returned it with a quick salute and waggle of his wings. He smiled as he did a quick snap roll and then pulled up and out. Tom Cruise, eat your heart out.
Thinking outside the box
There were only a few minutes before they would reach the kids; he had to do something, but what? If he were in his car, he would have hit the steering wheel out of frustration, since there was no wheel; he did the next best thing and slammed his fist against the side of his canopy. He pulled back up to 5000 feet and swung back to the north, towards the buses. Time was running out, and he still didn’t have any ideas of what he was going to do and he could only hit his canopy so many times. What could he do? It’s not like he could dive down and strafe the bad guys…or could he?
Facing your fears
Stunned with more fear than a junior high boy asking a girl out on his first date, Pike suddenly realized that he was the big shot they were waiting for. For a brief moment he thought about slamming his canopy shut and shoving the throttle to full military power and getting the hell out of Dodge.
Life of the party
Jimmy looked at Pike, sizing him up and deciding how to answer. “You’re pretty observant sir. Are you a cop?”
Pike smiled. “No, I’m an engineer. The devil is in the details as they say. If you miss something, you lose out on a big tip; if I miss something, people could die.”
“I bet you’re a lot of fun at parties.”
Pike chuckled, “Yeah, I tend to get a little over dramatic at times, but at least I don’t have a pocket protector and wear my pants around my chest.”
Philosophy on life
Pike looked at Mallory and puffed up his chest a little and sported a small smirk.
“Don’t let it go to your head,” Mallory said, “you just got lucky this time.”
“True enough, but I’d rather be lucky than good.”
“Now, now children,” Cain interjected, “I can’t take you two anywhere.”
How to handle an angry crowd
“Mr. Cain is still on board, and in fact he sent me down here,” he lied. “You all know what a gracious host Mr. Cain is and while he can do a lot of things, he can’t control the weather, yet.” There was a small nervous chuckle or two but not the tension breaker he was hoping for. “So to make up for this inconvenience, Mr. Cain will credit everyone’s account in the casino for $500.00. He wants you to have fun and this is his way of making up for the bad weather.”
How to charm women.
“Fair enough.” Pike said as he watched the others pour in their ice. “You know how to catch a polar bear don’t you?”
Mallory looked at him and shook her head. “I know I shouldn’t ask, but how?”
“You kick him in the ice hole.”
Mallory groaned. “That was bad, I mean really bad. I hope your plan works better than your jokes.” Pike just looked at her and grinned.
Understanding women and yourself
Pike sat back down and began eating again. He had taken two bites of his steak when he realized that Tabatha was just looking at him, reading him like a book. “May I ask you a question Gabe?”
“Sure,” he answered almost hesitantly.
“Why do you look guilty of committing some great crime against humanity?”
“Yes, you do. Let me ask you another question. Is she your girlfriend?
“Does she think she is?”
“Do you think she is?”
“Have you slept with her?”
“Do you feel guilty sitting here with me?”
Pike paused for a moment. “After the phone call… a little I guess.”
Pike shook his head and threw his hands up in the air. “That’s just it, I don’t know why. K.D. and I don’t have a past and you and I just met. So I have no reason whatsoever to feel guilty about anything.”
“And yet you do.”
“Yeah,” he replied, letting out a long sigh.
Taking your work home with you
“What have you got?” Cain asked, anxious to see what Pike thought was so important. “This,” he grinned, holding up two rolls of duct tape.
Cain looked in amazement. “Duct tape? You’re kidding me right? Do you always carry duct tape with you?”
Pike nodded his head. “I’m an engineer. I never leave home without it.
Turning the other cheek
Pike stood triumphantly over the guard like an ancient warrior over his vanquished foe. Pike’s chest heaved, adrenaline coursing through his body as he looked down at the guard. “And as a matter of fact, yes, I do think you’re stupid.” He said, then let out a muffled yell, then kicked the man in the side. He knew he shouldn’t have but it seemed like the thing to do at the time, his muscles protested at the kick, but it still felt good nonetheless.
Pike was feeling good about himself as he walked down the hall. Professionally, his career was probably shot. He had just said no to the richest man in the world and he had no doubts that if he wanted to, Cain could ruin him. But he was also grateful to Cain for helping him realize that money can’t buy everything, especially integrity, self-esteem, self-respect, and a clear conscience knowing that he did the right thing for the right reason.
Gabriel Pike is a flawed, and if nothing else, an interesting man. He is the true definition of a hero; an ordinary person thrust into extraordinary circumstances, but he also doesn’t see himself as doing anything unusual or special and he would be the first one to tell you that he was just doing his job.
To learn more about, Paul, Arctic Fire and his other books, please visit him at his website at;
Arctic Fire by Paul Byers. Fortress Publications. 2011. ISBN 9780615504070 (paperback), 412p.