by Rod Humphris
Length: 57 pages
Publication Date: May 24, 2016
In the mountains and passes of Nuristan, the men of patrol base Azun grind through their days and nights of constant vigilance. They hunt the Taliban and try to win hearts and minds. Trouble is coming, that is certain. How or when, where and in what form, they do not know. They fear it and also long for it.
Only Lieutenant Simon Ellice, with a clarity born of grief and anger, can see the shape of it. Only he, being beyond care, will do what has to be done and pay the price. Not that he will be the only one to pay.
Dead Ground is a story of the impossibility of the task assigned to British forces in Afghanistan and the heroism of some of those who attempted it.
I chose to read this novella after receiving a free e-copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.
Simon Ellice has just returned to his patrol base after having time off due to the loss of a loved one. He is still in the anger stage of grief and, on top of that, he has a bit of a problem with authority which doesn’t serve him well. When he figures out when the base is going to be attacked, he takes it on his own to take his company to try to defend the base because he knows his commanding officer won’t believe him.
Dead Ground is short but not sweet. There was a lot packed into these few pages. I felt like I was just getting to know Simon Ellice and the book was over. It was one I won’t soon forget even though it was short. The futility of fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan is well portrayed and a good lesson for all of us.
There were a lot of military terms in this book and most of them I knew or could figure out but there were some I didn’t understand. A glossary would have been nice for someone like me who has never been in the military.
Although Dead Ground could have been longer, it is a good beginning to the Simon Ellice series.
Available on Amazon.