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Battlefield 4: Countdown to War
Countdown To War
Publisher(s) Orion
Date released October 24, 2013
Genre Action, Military

Battlefield 4: Countdown to War is a novel written by Peter Grimsdale. The novel takes place before and during the singleplayer campaign of Battlefield 4, up until the third mission of the game's campaign, South China Sea. It tells the story of CIA agent Kovic and how he discovered Admiral Chang's plan to take over China.


It's dark. It's twenty below freezing. And CIA operative Laszlo Kovic is on the North Korea border leading a joint US-Chinese mission that is going straight to hell. The US team are massacred and the Chinese guides flee. Kovic is the only survivor.

On his return to base in Shanghai, his superiors in the CIA are suspicious of his miraculous return. But Kovic is looking for payback. He lost a lot of friends on that mission. So he puts together a crack team from the Chinese underworld - a hacker, an expert thief and a former-Olympic sniper - and begins to unravel a conspiracy that reaches up to the highest levels of government, both Chinese and American.

Here he discovers a deadly plot, one that will plunge the world into war . . .[1]

Plot SummaryEdit

Splr bf4
"You'll back me up, right?"
This section contains spoilers for Battlefield 4.

"Highbeam" Extraction Edit

Agent Kovic is sent by his new superior, Cutler, to the North Korean border where they were tasked with extracting a defector, code-named "Highbeam", who was the lead programmer of North Korea's nuclear program. A Marine pilot named Tex flew the squad to the meeting point in North Korea. Upon landing, Kovic and the other Marines surround "Highbeam"s vehicle as he approaches in case something goes wrong. Kovic initially attempts to speak to him through several dialects, and instructs him to exit the vehicle.

"Highbeam" exits his vehicle but promptly runs away, screaming at the squad to get away from him. It is soon revealed that "Highbeam" had a bomb strapped to his chest, with the explosion instantly killing Kean and heavily wounding Deacon, eventually succumbing to his wounds. North Korean forces then ambush the group, wounding Faulkner and forcing Kovic to order Tex to abandon them. Olsen screams over the radio for Tex to return and cover them. As Korean forces are engaging, an argument between Kovic and Olsen erupts due to Olsen defying Kovic's orders.

Kovic lunges at Olsen for his insubordination, only for Olsen to kick him in the crotch, making Kovic fall over in the snow. As Tex returns, his Helicopter crashes for uknown reasons and explodes. They then take cover behind "Highbeam"'s destroyed vehicle, only for Olsen to blame Kovic for the Sea Hawk's destruction. Olsen is then struck and wounded by enemy sniper fire in the thigh. Price and Kovic administers first aid as more opposition forces arrive in Jeeps. Kovic then rushes from cover to commandeer one of the Jeeps and proceeds to pick up whats left of the group.

As Kovic drives them away, North Korean forces are in pursuit. The ensuing chase causes Kovic to crash the jeep, ejecting everyone. Kovic then recovers from the crash and jumps on the enemy jeep, killing all of its passengers. Kovic then picks up the Marines and drives them toward the military border. They eventually arrive at a deserted checkpoint where Kovic phones for help. As Kovic returns to the jeep, he loses his footing from exhaustion and collapses. Kovic later wakes up as help arrives only to discover that Price and Faulkner have disappeared and that Olsen has died either from freezing or by his wounds. Kovic solemnly closes Olsen's eyes as his body is hauled away.

Help soon arrived to try and clean up the mess that transpired at the border. Kovic then took a ride on a civilian vehicle back to Shanghai so that he could try and find out exactly what happened.

Return to Shanghai Edit

Upon returning, Kovic first went to his apartment in the French Concessions of Shanghai to be met by Louise who was upset at Kovic missing her birthday. While Kovic had given her knotted silver and amber earring for her birthday, he hadn't included any other romance with it.

Louise was also fed up with Kovic's constant lies as well as the fact that when he actually was spending time with her he still "wasn't really there". Desperate, Kovic claimed it would not be like that forever, that the situation would change but they both knew better, leading Louise to end their relationship and leave the apartment with her things.

US Consulate Edit

Shortly after Louise's departure, Cutler, Kovic's superior, calls for a meeting with him at the US Consulate to discuss the events at the North Korean Border. Kovic then met up with Wu who drove him to the Consulate, only to see that it was surrounded by angry civilians over the United States supposed involvement in the border incident. Despite pleas from Wu not to go inside, as it was a major security risk, Kovic proceed to enter the building anyway.

While meeting with Cutler, he explained what happened, only for Cutler to state that Kovic should take some time off, before having Kovic escorted out of the building by Randall. Kovic then went back to Wu to discover that Cutler had fired Wu as Kovic's security detail, revealing that the CIA was trying to keep Kovic under wraps and that he was heavily suspected of playing a part of the disaster that occurred at the border.

Jim Mao Tower Edit

Kovic then headed to Jim Mao Tower in the city to meet with Victor Vaughan who he had suspected sent the troops that had attacked and wiped out the US forces at the North Korean border. While Victor playfully denied the accusation, Kovic promised that he would return to get the information out of Vaughan of his client before being escorted out of the building. Before leaving however, Kovic left a chewing gum receiver in the building with the intent to collect the info from it upon his return to the building.

Chase Through Shanghai and Arrest Edit

Xiang whom Kovic then briefly questioned before being shown out and told not to return. Kovic then took a cab back to his apartment only to be met by Hannah and other MSS operatives who then abducted him, taking him to the MSS Shanghai Headquarters, known as the "Golfball", for interrogation.

During interrogation, Hannah reviewed Kovic's history with him, much to his amusement. Kovic then revealed that Hannah actually had no idea why he was in Shanghai and that she was just doing a fake interrogation to buy time. Her immediate expression thereafter proved Kovic's theory correct. Kovic then asked when he could go home as he had had a long day, only for Hannah to reply he was going home, to Washington DC the next morning.

As Kovic was being dragged out of the building, he yelled back at Hannah, stating she had to notify the US Consulate first, only for Hannah to smile and tell him they already did and that the Consulate did not object to it. Hannah then proceeded to take Kovic back to his apartment to gather some personal belongings before he would be taken to the Pudong Airport and extradited back to the United States.

While on the car ride back to the French Concessions, Kovic questioned Hannah for the true reason for his deportation. While Hannah refused to speak, Kovic stated that the reason for his deportation was that he was the only survivor of the incident at the Chinese/North Korean border. Her bosses were well aware of this and kept her out of the loop because they didn't trust her. Despite that, Hannah still refused to respond to Kovic, only speaking to tell him exactly what he could pack from his apartment.

French Concessions Edit

Upon arriving at the French Concessions, however, it was revealed that Kovic's apartment was on fire. Kovic then broke free from Hannah and her detail, only to run into his apartment complex to help his neighbors and to see what was exactly had happened. Chasing after Kovic, Hannah found him in his apartment bedroom where the fire had started, staring at the corpse of his girlfriend, Louise. It is revealed that Louise had returned to the apartment and fell asleep in bed waiting for Kovic to return home.

While asleep, an unknown assailant had enter the apartment, shot and killed Louise, and set the apartment on fire to fake a suicide. Kovic then concluded that he had been the actual target, which the shooter had failed to check under the covers. Since he never registered Louise as his significant other, her status as his girlfriend was unknown, leading to the confusion that causing her death.

Finding the Truth Edit

Devastated, Kovic was taken by Hannah to a hotel to sleep off his grief for two days before he would be taken to the airport. Kovic then persuaded Hannah to allow him to stay in Shanghai to track down Louise's killers and find the real cause of the disaster at the North Korean border and that he could now operate outside of the box due to being officially dead, to which Hannah agreed. Kovic then went to a coffee shop and met with Wu and Zhou, filling them in on his plan. Kovic then had Zhou break them into Jim Mao Tower to confront Vaughan, whom Kovic suspected had been paid to kill him but killed Louise instead.

Kovic and his group then interrogated and tortured Vaughan for the name of his client. After finally giving Kovic the name, it is implied that Kovic killed Vaughan before he collected his chewing gum receiver. They then headed to Qi Linbau to gain more information on the name they had acquired from Vaughan, Tsu Yuntao. After learning about his background, Linbau showed Kovic a dated picture of Yuntao from 1992 as all other pictures had been destroyed.

Kovic then questioned Linbau about Yuntao's intent to involve himself at the North Korean border, only for Linbau to speculate that he may have done it to show his enemies his power. Afterwards, Kovic requested Linabu to tell him of Yuntao's location which was found to be in an old martial arts school in the Huangshan Mountains some three-hundred miles away from Shanghai. Kovic then contacts Garrison on his private line to explain the events that had transpired, only for Garrison to question what was stopping him from informing Cutler of Kovic's survival. Kovic responded by stating that Garrison wanted answers too and wanted to get revenge for the death of his men which proved correct.

Kovic then told Garrison that he had a name of the culprit behind the attack and that he knew his location. He then requested that Garrison have his men look out for signals that were coming to and from Yuntao's location in the Huangshan Mountains. Afterwards, Kovic told Garrison to remove and destroy his phone's SIM card after the call, at which time Garrison promptly hung up.

Huang Mountains Edit

Kovic, Zhou, Wu, and Linbau proceeded to travel to the Huangshan Mountains, posing as plumbers who were coming to give Wu's "aunt", Mrs. Chen a much needed water system. After entering Yuntao's territory, Kovic slid into a hidden compartment in the van as they were approaching patrols so as to avoid any altercations at seeing a foreign face.

After being stopped, Kovic's team tried to bribe their way through, only to be refused and demanded they drive to Tsu compound. Before the patrol could say anything else, however, Wu quickly drove the vehicle away into the forest to escape. After killing the guards who had pursued them, Kovic and his team confiscated their clothes and buried them. They then headed to Mrs. Chen who is revealed to have been an asset of Kovic's before she had retired to the mountains.

After reaching Mrs. Chen, they are introduced to Heng who was tasked by Chen to guide them toward Yuntao's location in the mountains. Upon arriving in the hideout's vicinity, however, Kovic's group stated how his plan was madness and that it would only get them all killed. Since the others did not have the emotional investment in killing Yuntao like he did, Kovic agreed and told them that they could leave if they wanted to and he and Heng would continue on.

Before they could decide on what to do next however, a cage is seen being raised up the mountain side with two guards and a prisoner in it. Kovic then turned to Heng to ask what was going on, only for Heng to reply that Yuntao takes joy in watching people fight to the death.

Yuntao's Compound Edit

Shortly after, Kovic infiltrated Yuntao's compound with his team providing support from the outside. He then walked up to guards to state that he wanted to "offer his services" to Yuntao so that they would then lead him to their boss. Instead, however, Kovic was led to a prison cell to await an audience with Yuntao. After being brought to Yuntao, Kovic falsely stated that he was a South African in look for work from Yuntao, though the fact that Kovic mysteriously climbed the mountains to get there made Yuntao unconvinced.

Yuntao then sent for a prisoner to be brought in and then held his Glock to Kovic's head, after which he gave Kovic a pistol and told him to kill the prisoner. While Kovic thought about using this opportunity to kill Yuntao, he knew that there would be no way to do so with his current position. Heeding Yuntao's order, Kovic shot at the prisoner, but purposely missed to instead kill the guard holding the man, much to Yuntao's amusement.

Yuntao then took Kovic's empty Glock and called more guards in, revealing that he knew from the start that Kovic was American, criticizing his ridiculous cover. Yuntao then momentarily left the room to bring in another guest, Admiral Chang Wei of the People's Liberation Army. It was then that Kovic discovered that it was in fact Chang who had used Yuntao to kill Kovic's team at the North Korean border in order to increase hostilities between the Chinese people and America.

Kovic was then sent back to his cell, only to find that he wasn't alone. The figure showed Kovic his handmade knife, telling Kovic to take it and use it when the time was right. Kovic questioned for the figure's identity, with no avail. He then slid the knife into his cuff and then passed out afterwards.

Kovic was later taken back to Yuntao who tortured him before having him blindfolded and dragged outside. Linbau then contacted Kovic through his radio receiver in his ear, detailing the heavily armed men around him and how he was slowly being dragged to a plank where he would be forced to walk off the mountain to his death. The blindfold was then removed by Yuntao's men so that Kovic could see how he would die.

It was then that Kovic noticed Wu and Qi in the distance ready to help him. Knowing that he would have only one chance, Kovic started taunting Yuntao so that he could use his hidden blade as he got closer to him. After a brief struggle between the two, Kovic was able to free himself but dropped the knife in the process. Taking advantage of Yuntao's surprise, however, Kovic tried to grab him so that he could throw them both over mountain side. Despite this effort, however, Kovic wounds from the previous night of torture made this impossible.

As the two were engaged in combat, Kovic yelled for Wu to take out the Helicopter with his sniper rifle, resulting in a large explosion that sent Kovic and Yuntao close to the edge of the cliff. Yuntao was then caught in the chains of Kovic's shackles and subsequently hanged. Wu then shot the chain, sending Tsu Yuntao's corpse down the mountainside.

Escape Edit

Kovic and his team then proceed to make their escape from the compound as Linbau killed the compounds power. This gave them the opportunity to enter a cable car only to discover that its auxiliary battery was shot.

Kovic then devised a plan for them to rappel down the mountain side. After all but Kovic had successfully rappelled down, Kovic found that the cable car was moving again, meaning that the power had come back on. Having no other option, Kovic leapt from the car down below into a narrow lake. Now that Yuntao had been stopped, Kovic set his sights on Chang who meant to spark a war between America and China. Kovic proceeded to call Hannah to fill her in on the matter at hand.

Naturally Hannah defended Chang, stating how he was one of the greatest military heroes in all of China and how he was an old friend of her father. Kovic responded by reminding Hannah that Chang saw her friend, Jin Jié, as a reminder of all that he hated about the way things were going in China and that he was in danger. He then requested that Hannah extract him and his team as the remainder of Yuntao's men were in pursuit. While Hannah was still in disbelief, she told Kovic to hold tight and give her six hours.

Immediately after, Kovic regrouped with Zhou and Linbau, with Wu missing. Not having the strength to look for Wu, they made camp, with Kovic standing watch. After a few hours he noticed an armed group approach them. Due to sleep deprivation, however, Kovic did not have the strength to escape and they were soon surrounded. Yuntao's men then put them on a bus, stating they would die just like their boss did. Before they could get very far however, a Mercedes Benz SUV showed itself, with Hannah revealed to be the driver.

Hannah proceeded to talk to the men, stating she was there to take Kovic into her custody for committing crimes against China. The fact that she was alone and how female MSS Officers were essentially unheard of made the men unconvinced. Hannah then raised her Guns/Chang Feng submachine gun.htm Cheng Feng submachine gun at the men and opened fire, killing them. She then took Kovic and his team, along with Wu who had found them, back to Shanghai.

Return to Shanghai Edit

As Hannah drove them back to her apartment at the Majesty Plaza Hotel in Shanghai, Kovic gave Hannah a more detailed account of his time on the mountain, only for Hannah to again express her disbelief that Chang was behind everything. Once Kovic had cleaned himself up from his injuries, he headed to the US Consulate to go inform Cutler of his survival and the truth behind what had happened at the North Korean border.

Upon entering his office, however, Kovic noticed the color drained from Cutler's face upon seeing him as well as the fact that he also had a visitor, Senator Hiram Metzger. After the senator's leave, Kovic proceeded to bring Cutler up to speed on the situation. Once finished, Cutler told of how this information would have to go to the top heads of the government.

After the meeting, Kovic decide to contemplate over the events that had transpired that past few days. Curious, he then decided to investigate Metzger as he wondered why he had been meeting with Cutler. It was then that Hannah sent a text to Kovic that apparently displayed her love for him and to meet her at her apartment. Knowing something was wrong, Kovic appeared at her apartment anyway, only to find that he was to be taken in exchange for the life of Hannah's father. Despite that, the men holding her father hostage killed him anyway, prompting Hannah and Kovic to kill the men that had arrived to take Kovic.

Depressed, Hannah told Kovic how Jin Jié was having a rally and how she should be there to support him. She then offered for Kovic to come as well, only for him to decline, stating he had better things to do.

Extracting Jin Jié Edit

Kovic quickly rushed to the rally with Wu, only to arrive too late. While Jin Jié had not been killed, he had sustained serious injuries and needed medical attention. Hannah and Kovic rushed Jin Jié out of the rally as Chang's forces closed in. With Wu's vehicle boxed in, they met an American reporter that Kovic had saved a few days earlier from an angry mob. Upon seeing an injured Jin Jié with them, the reporter gladly let them enter the news van.

As they were treating Jin Jié's wounds, however, the reporter and his technician got excited as they believed they had gotten a world exclusive story. Kovic reacted by grabbing the technicians throat, saying it was important that Jin Jié's survival be kept a secret and that he would kill them if they did not keep the secret. Alternatively, Kovic told them of Cutler's corpse at the top floor of Pudong Royal and that he had been shot for being a spy, saying that if they broke that story, they would be "as famous as Woodward and Bernstein".

Hannah and Kovic then preformed crude surgery on Jin Jié who was slowly bleeding out from shrapnel. Successful, Kovic then told them how they need to make it to the coast and escape. At this statement, Jin Jié sat up, saying how he could not abandon his people. Kovic relentlessly argued with Jin Jié who was intent on staying in Shanghai, to which Hannah agreed. Before they could argue further, Kovic overheard a military official say that all foreigners were to report to the Zhi You Towers for evacuation. Kovic was about to abandon Jin Jié at this statement but decided against it after a plea from Hannah.

Zhi You Tower Edit

Afterwards, they made their way to the Tower for a temporary safe house. On arrival, Kovic sent a text message to Garrison, informing him of their location and requesting extraction. Garrison agreed, telling Kovic that he would send a group of Marines to help. Kovic then told Wu to steal a uniform and weapons for them as they entered the building the only way they could: in plain sight.

Kovic's group planned to enter the building as Canadians, with Hannah acting as Kovic's wife and Jin Jié her brother. Upon entering, when a PLA soldier asked for their passports, Kovic angrily told him off, briefly explaining how they were lost in the commotion outside, and how his brother-in-law was severely injured. Embarrassed, the soldier helped them inside and set Jin Jié on a trolley.

They then met a friend of Hannah's, Katie, who was inside the building with her husband Chip. After a short conversation, Katie noticed the bandages fall off of Jin Jié's face and was shocked to learn his true identity, much to Chip's ignorance. Before a scene could be made however, Kovic rushed Hannah and Jin into an elevator, where Wu joined them.

Arriving at the building's roof, Kovic tried to find a way they could escape. Having almost given up hope, Kovic heard a helicopter engine in the distance approaching, thinking Garrison may have come through for them. As it neared, however, Kovic was horrified to see that it was a WZ-9—one of Chang's helicopters. They quickly made their way back down the building into a hotel room.

Soldiers then closed in on them, resulting in a firefight. After seemly dispatching the soldiers, Kovic went to commandeer the dead men's weapons, only to be shot at by a surviving soldier. Kovic would have been killed if not for Wu, who had broken position and had taken the bullet for Kovic, mortally wounding him.

Hannah quickly killed the soldier and rush to Wu with Kovic as he lay dying. Kovic held Wu's dying body in disbelief as Wu said he was disappointed he would not be able to go to America and drive on Big Sur, Route 1 after all. Kovic then said how he would make that drive for Wu, who then died with a smile on his face.

Distraught, Kovic took one of Wu's grenades and rigged it to the door, in case more PLA soldiers tried to open the door. Kovic had Hannah bring Jin Jié with them into the room next door, where they stayed, hidden and waiting.

Hijack Edit

See also Shanghai (Mission)

Overhearing his trap being set off, Kovic waited for a few moments before opening the door. Not only does he find two PLA soldiers, killed in the grenade blast, but he also finds Tombstone SquadReckerIrish, and Pac – who are all surprised to see him. Annoyed by them not showing up sooner, Kovic scolded the "boys" for being late before letting them inside. Kovic then asked Tombstone how they would escape, only to learn from Irish that the Chinese military had nixed the option of taking the streets out.

Kovic ordered they head to the roof and steal the Z-9 helicopter landed there. After securing the helicopter, Kovic gets into the cockpit while Hannah takes Jin Jié with her to board it. As Hannah and Recker quickly got Jin Jié aboard the helicopter, Kovic asked Recker if he and the Marines wanted to ride with them, only for him to shake his head, stating they would hold off Chang's forces as they escaped.

Upon getting into the cockpit, Kovic was then questioned by Hannah if he knew how to fly the helicopter. Kovic responded by saying he knew how to fly, though it had been a while since his last flight which had only been a training run on a small TH-67 helicopter. After taking off, Kovic accidentally sent the helicopter into a nose dive down the skyscraper before quickly fixing his mistake and leveling out. Kovic then told Hannah to use the radio to find the location of the USS Valkyrie.

Their escape successful, Kovic flew out of Shanghai airspace and finally reached theValkyrie. Upon approaching, however, they found the Valkyrie shrouded in mist and noticed that the helicopter was low on fuel. The Valkyrie's Command Tower then talked Kovic in, successfully landing the Z-9 aboard the Valkyrie. However, Kovic's inexperience in piloting caused the helicopter to come in hard, destroying the landing gear and rotors, and knocking Kovic unconscious.

USS Valkyrie Edit

See also South China Sea

Kovic awoke aboard the USS Valkyrie, trying to remember the events that just transpired. With Hannah at his bedside, he jokingly asked her if he passed his flying test, only for Hannah to kiss him. A young steward then knocked on the door, telling them that Garrison would like Kovic to join him for breakfast. Frowning, Kovic discovered that he had been asleep for twenty-six hours. Kovic was then given a khaki shirt and pants and told the steward to given him ten minutes to get ready.

After arriving in Garrison's quarters, Kovic noticed a picture of Tommy Garrison, his son. Garrison followed Kovic's gaze and told of how the picture was taken a few weeks before Tommy died. The two men then met eyes for the first time and shook hands. While eating, Kovic asked what became of Tombstone and Jin Jié. Garrison explained that Tombstone made it back alive with hundreds of refugees in tow, and that Jin Jié was alive and recovering in the medical bay.

Garrison then tells Kovic of how he wanted nothing else but to kill him after Tommy's death, a life for a life. He went on to say that he eventually let it go, realizing that it was not Kovic's fault. Afterwards, Kovic headed back to meet with Hannah again and talk about all that had happened.

An Osprey was to transport Kovic off the Valkyrie so that he could report to his superiors. As it landed, however, the Valkyrie went into red alert. Kovic and Hannah left their cabin to see what was going on. Recker shouted up to them and told them that they have come upon the USS Titan – it has been attacked. Garrison needed Tombstone to board it via RHIB to recover important intelligence before it sinks.

Kovic then glanced at Garrison, who nodded in approval at Kovic joining Tombstone in their mission and made him temporary squad leader before preparing to set off for the Titan.


  1. Battlefield 4: Countdown to War, viewed 4 December 2013, <>.

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