Those who have read the excellent 'Armageddon's Song ' series by this author will recall his hero, General Henry Shaw. This is the prequel to the series, with Henry starting out as a recruit to the United States Marine Corps.
- Andy Farnham
The action takes place in Vietnam in 1963, where Henry is assigned to a firebase in Quang Tri province, close to the border. Henry is a 2nd Lt with a strong sense of duty and morality, who will not tolerate compromise nor relinquish his integrity. This causes conflict with the ARVN area commander but Henry is supported in his efforts by his own local commander, along with a number of people who become close friends, and who also feature in the later parts of the series.
In this book Henry meets people who will become pivotal in the war that erupts much later, amongst who is a young CIA operative - Terry Jones - who goes on to become the head of that organisation. In this book he is working for Air America, initially.
There is plenty of small unit action, firefights and ambushes and a good insight into how the Vietnam war was being fought at that time scale.
An interesting and often amusing group, known as 'The Empire Quartet ' which comprises of a Royal marine, a Gurkha, an Australian and a Maori bring contrast to the American way of working.
The author is known to some of us on the site, an ex squaddy and copper, his previous works have all been well recieved, well written, authentic and always entertaining, this is an excellent book, the first of two featuring Henry Shaw in his younger days. I, for one, can't wait for the second.