After his first ship burns at sea under mysterious circumstances, a tough young sailor, Billy Cain (the prodigal son of Pony Springs, Montana), is treated for his wounds and then reassigned to a big supply ship, The USS Newark AOE-2; here he finds himself in the unlikely situation of serving again with a loyal but disturbed former shipmate and friend, Wade Jordan. The intense complexities of personality and situation between them, fueled by one sailor's criminal greed and desire to dominate in the drug world and another's attempt to right a situation that's gotten out of hand, will probably cost him dearly. Yet he fights back against his enemy for no more reason than an amazing woman's love and his family's American pride.

A cast of Asian soldiers and crooked drug agents, nightmarish scenes of Bangkok, and hard-core violence upon a discontented ship where a rough bunch of American sailors are just about one bust away from raising the "jolly roger—these characters, even the small ones in scope, are nailed and salted with just the right amount of local color and physical detail as to be pleasing (or not) and memorable (for sure). The novel is comprised of three interconnected elemental disciplines: historical/international noir (Le Carre or Ludlum); military "realism" such as Wouk or McKenna; and finally the last third, which resonates with the description and narrative of rural Northwest America and the prose of personal love, honor, and retaliation.

The women in this novel are multifaceted and have been granted true perspective without pretense. There are also various patriots, criminals, cowboys and innocents, barflies and ladies of the West and East—all at their best and worst behaviors—that populate this blend of historical fiction told in sharp noir prose, which the writer explores inside this world of yet another failed American War. The Military section is rife with shipboard action and humor that smacks of an authenticity of Naval Fiction rarely seen since "The Sand Pebbles." The resolution of this book is told in the self-restrained, yet vibrant, voice of a writer who understands that poetry is love. The characters in this story are young: Billy and his girlfriend Laura, yet between them is the love and courage to act on the truth without mitigation or denial, especially in the face of Billy's unusual hardships during his young life.


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