Good first novel by Iraq War Veteran Kevin Powers. From the beginning, his eloquence charms and jars you simultaneously.
“The war tried to kill us in the spring. As grass greened the plains of Nineveh and the weather warmed, we patrolled the low slung hills beyond the cities and towns.“
The plot centers around 21 year old Private Bartle who is ordered to look after 18 year old Private Murphy in battle-ridden Al-Tafar, Iraq. Bartle resents having to look after this younger soldier and doesn’t want to even get to know him, because he is convinced Murphy is too inexperienced to survive. But he does eventually become closer to Murphy, and as the war takes it’s toll on the 18 year old, Bartle must deal with a war within as well as the war raging in the desert.
The premise for the novel is a good one, and Powers is a gifted writer. However, I found the characters lacking the depth required for the reader to be truly sympathetic. As a result, the book was just okay for me.
3 stars (0ut of 5)
Published in 2012