“WHEN I have a class reunion kind of thing, we just have a beer; we don’t, like, tackle terrorists or anything.” The voice is unmistakable: Barack Obama.
It’s late August 2015 and, huddled over an iPhone in northern France, Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler are being congratulated by the US President.
Only hours earlier Skarlatos and Sadler were two typical young, slightly hungover American tourists making their way haphazardly through Europe with buddy Spencer Stone.
Now all three are international heroes – the result of having been in the wrong place at the right time on a train between countries. Confronted with the unthinkable, the Sacramento 20-somethings have discovered a depth of courage none of the trio had known for certain that they had.
Doing the rounds of the continent, Skarlatos is spending pay accumulated during his National Guard deployment to Afghanistan; Stone is on leave from an airforce position in the Azores where, on his third attempt to find a military role that suits, he is stationed as an emergency medical technician. Sadler, the most academic of the three, is a college student who at his friends’ urging has used a credit card to finance his share of the adventure.
Between Amsterdam and Paris the men have just interrupted an attack that could have seen hundreds of people shot, stabbed or incinerated by a Moroccan national with a festering gudge against the West. Together they have overpowered a terrorist armed with a handgun, a boxcutter blade, a semi-automatic assault rifle, nine magazines of ammunition and a bottle of fuel.
Naturally, the world wants to hear their story.
Through this book Skarlatos, Stone and Sadler tell how they first met as boys thrown together by circumstance – three socially awkward misfits bonded by a common love of weapons – who never dreamt of becoming celebrities.