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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Review: The Renegades

Title: The Renegades
Author: Tom Young
Publisher:  Putnam Adult
Publication Date: 
 July 19, 2012
Reviewer: Ethan

Summary: A catastrophic earthquake ravages Afghanistan, and American troops rush to deliver aid, among them Afghan Air Force adviser Lieutenant Colonel Michael Parson, and his interpreter, Sergeant Major Sophia Gold. The devastation facing them is like nothing they’ve ever seen, however—and it’s about to get worse.

A Taliban splinter group, Black Crescent, is conducting its own campaign—shooting medical workers, downing helicopters, slaughtering anyone who dares to accept aid. With the U.S. drawing down and coalition forces spread thin, it is up to Parson, Gold, and Parson’s Afghan aircrews to try to figure out how to strike back. But they’re short of supplies, men, experience, and information—and meanwhile the terrorists seem to be nowhere . . . and everywhere.

Review: As we have seen, especially in recent years, when nature decides to throw a natural disaster our way, there is nothing for us to do but watch it happen and work quickly to recover. In his latest novel, "The Renegades", Tom Young presents a natural disaster, complicated by the human disaster of war.

The horrors of the war in Afghanistan are elevated when a large earthquake strikes the area. In the immediate aftermath, US Lt. Col. Michael Parson is called in to assist with the recovery efforts. Assisted by a cast of interesting characters, especially translator Sophia Gold, the team attempts to save the lives of innocent locals, caught in the crossfire of war and natural disaster.

Young presents the people of Afghanistan as torn between being thankful or completely against American assistance. Some locals, like pilot Rashid, even join forces with the US military. Unfortunately, the Taliban witnesses the American's response to the earthquake and, in turn, enter the village, killing many and kidnapping the young boys to train as future soldiers.

The bare, mostly quick prose used by Young helps to portray the intensity of the war. The book never lags, always driving forward with suspense and action. Either because of the military jargon or the sheer number of people contributing to a conversation, there were some moments when the dialogue became a bit confusing. I imagine, however, that this confusion may be another form of accurately depicting the intense situations of war. In the end, this novel had no major revelations, but was an entertaining look into the horrors of war and mother nature.

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