Sunday, July 10, 2011

Read: "The Warlord" by Richard H. Dickinson.

Read: The Warlord by Richard H. Dickinson, 2004, 9781590710173.

Disappointing after Dickinson's first novel. That one, The Silent Men, was just that good. The thing is, I don't read many modern-day politico related shoot'em ups. Of the ones I have read this is much better. I found the characters more fully realized and without the political posturing and didacticism of other novels.

The main character from Silent appears 40 years later as an Army General. Monroe is now one of David Hackworth's "perfumed princes" of the Pentagon. Monroe is concerned with his Pentagon career: his looks, his reputation, ability to manipulate bureaucracy, etc. Monroe is in favor of a Congressional bill to, effectively, do away with SOCOM. Monroe travels to Afghanistan on a fact-finding mission prior to testifying before Congressional committee regarding the bill.

While in Afgh. Monroe demands to travel to a conference of regional warlords in NE Afgh. A Green Beret A-team is tasked to travel with him but Monroe halves the team in his own misguided, know-it-all, anti-SOCOM way. Monroe continues to act like an ass with the A-team. Monroe refuses to recognize local customs and politics. Monroe is the archetype of the clueless but powerful general bulling around the china shop.

The local leader of the mujaheddin is assassinated. Monroe and friends blamed and attacked. Monroe and friends board two helicopters. One helicopter is downed, the other helicopter, low on fuel, crashes. Monroe and friends captured and escape. Monroe and friends survive through knowledge and skill of A-team's Captain Salam. Monroe seething at Salam's ability versus Monroe's inability and lack of leadership.

Things happen. People shot. Non-infantry struggle to adapt. Monroe acts foolishly. Lots of shooting. Travel across the desert. Monroe redeems himself.

1. You have to swallow the nonsense of a three star general attending a dangerous conference with only a six guy security team.
2. Novel is a love letter to SOCOM.

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