Thursday, January 22, 2009

Read: "Blood Alone" by James R. Benn

Read: Blood Alone by James R. Benn, 2008, 9781569475164.

Very good. Much better than I expected. Great story with historical and geographical detail.

Billy Boyle wakes up in a hot and dusty U.S. Army hospital tent. Boyle has intense pain from a head injury and a less serious arm injury. But, Boyle doesn't know he is Boyle. He does not know his name, his job, his family, anything because he has amnesia. Boyle gets a start on remembering when a Sergeant shows up to check on him and says he was the one get him to hospital. Boyle leaves with the Sergeant and his memory starts piecing back together.

This was a really well done book. Set in Sicily after the Allied invasion in the summer of 1943. Boyle has to battle amnesia to find out who he is, who his friends are, who his enemies are, and what his mission is. The amnesia is both physically and psychologically induced. As traumatic memories come back they bring the original trauma along with them.

I liked Benn's descriptions of Sicily and the oppressive heat. Benn ties his story into the true tale of Lucky Luciano aiding the Allied cause by partnership with the Sicilian gangsters. The strange, to me, concept of honor is discussed by the characters and plays out in their actions.

This is the first of the the Boyle series I have read and it works great as a standalone. I'm glad that the Eisenhower connection, Boyle is Eisenhower's nephew and on his headquarters staff, was not played up like I was afraid it would be.

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