McCarthy's compelling debut introduces Oscar "Scout" Wendell, a journalist and self-destructive adrenaline junkie who embeds with the Marines when Russia and the United States go to war over rich mineral deposits discovered in Kazakhstan. Plunged into a nightmarish world of subterranean combat and random death, Scout feels his identity slipping away as he and his fellows are reduced to faceless cogs in an infernal war machine. He finds an unexpected emotional anchor in Sophie, a genetically engineered super-soldier. Though Sophie soon begins to deteriorate, their romance never turns either mawkish or faux tragic. McCarthy, a geologist and former CIA analyst, crafts a portrait of the effects of battlefield stress that is difficult to bear but impossible to put down. Recalling the work of Remarque, Willi Heinrich, and especially Michael Herr, McCarthy's delirious narrative avoids cliché and raises intriguing questions about what it means to be human. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 04/18/2011 Release date: 08/01/2011 Genre: Fiction
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