Monday, June 6, 2011

Mullah's Storm

Title: The Mullah's Storm
Author: Thomas W. Young
ISBN: 9780425242254
Releases: June 7, 2011

Thomas W. Young, a Senior Master Sergeant wtih the Air National Guard, knows war. At the end of his debut novel The Mullah's Storm, Young writes of his experiences and what led to the book. "When I first flew into Afghanistan, what scared me most wasn't the thought of getting shot down and killed. It was the thought of getting shot down and not killed" (p. 275). That fear becomes the basis for his book. What happens when a plane is shot down in a war zone and the passengers are not killed?
At the start of The Mullah's Storm, navigator Michael Parson is on board a plane with his team and a female Army interpreter, Sergeant Gold, transporting a high-profile Taliban detainee in for questioning. The plane is shot down over the Hindu Kush mountains during a blizzard. The conditions make rescue impossible and set Parson and Gold on the run with the mullah prisoner. Rough terrain and terrible weather are not the only setbacks to the mission. In the remote mountains, Parson and Gold can't be sure who to trust. Do the villagers view American soldiers as friend or foe? Are they loyal to the Taliban?
Blending constant action with careful detail and complex scenarios, Young creates a realistic depiction of a side of war most of us will never see. Parson is headstrong, but unprepared. He is occassionally forced to choose between what his training has taught him and what his heart tells him. Gold, for her part, is intelligent and logical. She is forgiving perhaps to a fault, at least in Parson's eyes, but tough as nails and proves herself just as capable as Parson. Young's novel is frightening, thrilling, and an absolute page-turner.

Normally, I don't include mention of other reviews, but in this case I felt this one appropriate. This quote comes from a retired military serviceman, praising both the quality of Young's writing and the realism of his story. It is featured on the back cover of the hardcover edition of this book.

"Like Tom Clancy, Young has an eye for detail about military equipment, operations, and thinking that will ring true with any veteran, and his portrayal of Afghanistan is worth the read alone."
-General Chuck Horner, USAF (Ret.), Former Commander, U.S. Central Command Air Forces

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