Brian Van Reet. LB/Boudreaux, $26 (304p) ISBN 978-0-316-31616-3
The horrors of modern war in Iraq in 2003 are vividly described in this debut novel by Iraq War veteran Van Reet, focusing on the deadly connections between a female American soldier, an American tank crewman, and a fervent jihadist insurgent. At an obscure roadblock near Baghdad, Army Specialist Cassandra is a gunner on a Humvee, idealistic and proud of her service. Private Sleed, the tank crewman, is naïve and easily manipulated. And Abu Al-Hool loses a leadership struggle with Dr. Walid, an Islamist extremist. Sleed and his crew have abandoned their posts to loot a palace when Walid and Al-Hool’s fighters attack the American roadblock, and Cassandra is wounded and captured by the jihadists, beginning 55 days of torture, abuse, and exploitation for propaganda. Sleed feels guilty that their dereliction of duty contributed to Cassandra’s capture. While the Americans search for Cassandra, Al-Hool suspects Walid will have him killed, so he makes desperate plans to avoid assassination and to seek his revenge. Cassandra’s POW captivity is horrific; Dr. Walid’s final propaganda use for her is calmly diabolical and will have surprising and devastating effect. Van Reet’s unsettling tale is an authentic portrayal of combat with its chaos, fear, and the finality of death. It is also a sobering commentary on war’s brutality and the burning intensity of Iraq’s jihadist insurgency. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/06/2017
Release date: 04/18/2017
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-0-316-31615-6
Compact Disc - 978-1-4789-7314-0
Compact Disc - 978-1-4789-7311-9
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-316-31617-0
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