“The struggle knows not the logic of morals” is an Arabic saying.
A man, Walid, lives in Baghdad, where bombs tear apart markets and flesh, Americans shoot at anyone who crosses them and the police are too scared to stop murderers as the streets run red with blood. Walid must protect his family, his neighborhood, from this onslaught of violence. But how? He decides to use his brains and gun. As a consequence, he dives into the underbelly of a city in the throes of civil war.
Fighting other Iraqis and the Americans, Walid must figure out how to live just one more day.
Mohammad, Walid’s childhood companion, decides to sell out his friend to get personal justice.
Qassem, an Iranian, trained to work in the shadows for Tehran, plays with men’s lives to achieve his goals.
Douglass, an American soldier, dutifully carries out his mission.
Everyone fights to come out on top, but not all of them can survive. Who will make it to see another day?
Although this is a review on a trilogy of books, I really feel it is more a review on just one book. If you are going to read this, please don’t try to break it down into three parts, just jump straight in and read it as if it is a complete book, I assure you that you will not be disappointed. While I am on this subject, I’m not sure why the Author chose to split this book into three as it works very well as a full novel on its own. Also you if have a weak stomach, be warned that this is a book set in a combat zone; the scenes of violence contained in it cannot be avoided and, in some places, they may make the reader sick to their stomach. However, this is also one of the strengths of this book, as it serves to bring right into the readers comfortable reading spot a perspective on a war that has often been used as a political tool by Governments far and wide.
The main protagonist is in this book is not a likeable one at all, despite starting out with good intentions in his fight for the preservation of his life and that of his Family’s he soon slides into a world that brings about actions which truly make the reader doubt if he ever had a decent bone in his body to start with. If it had not been for several other characters I encountered in reading this novel, I think the main character would have truly made me reconsider completing this book. Other characters are written in such a way that they add depth and breadth to the story; the humanity or inhumanity of war is reflected through their actions and shown in the turmoil they face on a day-to-day basis. The Author has done an excellent job of taking personalities from both sides of this conflict and making them equally likeable or not, regardless of their background; with a skilful pen the Author demonstrates the motivations of all the different groups operating in this war without taking a firm stand for one group or the other. Regardless of whether the reader likes the characters or not in this book, there is no avoiding the fact that we are reading about real and suffering people who endure the unthinkable and have, like all humans, lapses in their moral codes.
For me, I found this to be a very emotional book to read; knowing the Author is a Veteran themselves and had actually been in the same dark place my Husband had, made me realize that this was just as much as healing tool for the Author as it was a piece of fiction based on facts for the reader. The book is full of common military terms and, at times I could hear the words of the Author echoed in conversations I have had with others that were in Iraq during the early years of the war. Although many readers may think that the ending to this book is rather weak compared to the rest of the contents, I felt it was very indicative of the nature of this conflict; there are no clear rules of engagement and no nice clean happy endings, at the end of the day there are losses on both sides and each have to rebuild not only their homes but their lives as well, physically and mentally.
This is a very thought-provoking novel, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who would like to get another perspective on the Iraq war and those who are interested in military books.