Excerpt from The Blue House Raid

A half hour after settling in, Jun-seok heard a voice and the snapping of twigs. Another team, he thought—they should be more quiet—but it wasn’t. Below Jun-seok, no more than ten meters away, appeared a man of nineteen or twenty. He wore shabby work clothes and held a sickle in his right hand. Another man, early twenties, A-frame on his back, followed. Jun-seok caught another movement and noticed two more young men angling off to the left.

The man with the sickle looked at Jun-seok, Yoon, and Ho, then looked away. He sidestepped left as though he hadn’t seen anything. He flicked a hand at the second man, who was setting down his A-frame.

“Hey there,” said Ho, contorting his voice to a southern accent.

Both young men looked up.

“Hey there,” said the one with the sickle.

“As you can see,” said Ho, “we’re soldiers. We’re with the twenty-sixth division. We’re investigating suspicious activity in this area.”

The sickle man said, “So that’s it. We thought you were choppers too, horning in on our territory.” He gave a chuckle that came out flat.

Jun-seok examined the threads of his captain’s phony uniform, bare and seedy in the daylight that filtered through the leafless trees. He listened to his captain’s tinny rendition of a southern dialect. He didn’t sound at all like the man with the sickle.

Ho edged down the slope as the two young men stiffened. Jun-seok stiffened. If the two men ran, they would have to be chased down with daggers. Firing a submachine gun or pistol was out of the question.

“What’s your name?” said Ho.

“Woo,” said the first man. “We’re both Woo. We’re cousins.”