Assassins. Mike Bond. Mandevilla Press. December 2016. 502 pp. ASIN #: B01MTW71F6.
Our main character opens the action by parachuting into Afghanistan with his peers, but the landing is a difficult one indeed. At the beginning of thirty years of fighting, the soldier falls victim to multiple shreds of shrapnel lodged in his skull and one of his peers is wounded in the leg. Their job was to serve as aides to defeat the Russians, to get them out of Afghanistan. But little by little the reader learns about the real issues behind the constant war occurring in Afghanistan, Pakistan and other Middle Eastern countries. For Afghani lords don’t trust each other and even go to war against each other in their endless power plays. There’s no trust between American soldiers or mercenaries and the Afghanis being helped. Weapons are exchanged for the trafficking of opium. It’s a brutal existence and death looms large in every stage of any operation.
As the story progresses, the plot thickens and we realize that the American government is being played. For Arabs take American money and military support while at the same time hedging their bets with supporting terrorist lords. For anyone sharp about global news, this isn’t news but reading out it plays out in action is starkly shocking. Americans fighting over there take orders and don’t spend much time analyzing the political sides. One wonders what their motivation is to make friends with those who are both friends and enemies, who put up with insults of Muslims who see any American friend or foe as an infidel or enemy.
This novel covers thirty years (no spoilers here) from the early years to 911 to the evolution of terrorism into ISIS. The action is rivetingly present on every page. It’s an education in Middle East strife and at the same time a thrilling read in which tension never relaxes. It’s so real it’s almost overwhelming! It is what is really happening. Assassins is Mike Bond’s best novel! Well-researched, complicated, surreal yet real, this is a story (it is fiction, after all) that will sear the reader’s memory long after the last page is turned! Highly recommended, well-crafted fiction that tells the vivid story of an endless war!