Books by Ralph Peters

Released: Aug. 29, 2017

"Once again a master of historical military fiction has made real the sound and fury of the Civil War."
Civil War chronicler Peters (The Damned of Petersburg, 2016, etc.) once again writes of war in Technicolor, this time chronicling the blood-drenched chaos of close combat as Grant's Army of the Potomac forces the surrender of Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. Read full book review >
Released: June 28, 2016

"Rich in detail and rendered with a literary flair, this is magnificent fiction that Civil War buffs will want for their libraries."
Peters (Valley of the Shadow, 2015, etc.) continues his visceral Civil War series with the Union Army's 1864 assaults around Petersburg, Virginia. Read full book review >
Released: May 5, 2015

"A superlative novel."
Those who enjoy Bruce Catton's and Shelby Foote's Civil War histories will find a fictional equal in Peters' retelling of the 1864 Shenandoah Valley campaign. Read full book review >
HELL OR RICHMOND by Ralph Peters
Released: May 7, 2013

"Not quite in the class as Michael Shaara or Shelby Steele, but a solid work of historical fiction all the same."
Swift-moving fictional reconstruction of the terrible Overland Campaign of 1864, which must have seemed to its participants to be never ending. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 1, 2012

"Literary readers will prefer Michael Shaara and Shelby Steele, and unliterary ones will want their Newt Gingrich. But Peters' novel holds up well, and it's welcome in the vast library of books about the Civil War's great turning point."
Action-packed treatment of one of the bloodiest episodes of the Civil War, rendered with all due gruesomeness. Read full book review >
THE OFFICER'S CLUB by Ralph Peters
Released: Jan. 1, 2011

"Part murder mystery, part character study, totally entertaining. Peters has created a character worthy of a sequel."
The brutal murder of a beautiful young female lieutenant is at the center of this thriller by retired Army Lt. Col. Peters (The War After Armageddon, 2009, etc.). Read full book review >
TRAITOR by Ralph Peters
Released: April 6, 1999

A blistering indictment of big-ticket military procurement corruption folded into a sleek, well-muscled thriller. On his way home from his old mentor Maj. Gen. Mickey Farnsworth's funeral, Lt. Col. John Reynolds stops off to see Emerson Carroll, a former friend now fattening himself at Macon-Bolt Industries. Em wants details about a devastating explosion at the aircraft research site of Macon-Colt's French competitor, but John can't tell him anything. Then suddenly Em is dead too; his impossibly beautiful girlfriend, Senate staffer Corry Nevers, is camped on John's doorstep; John's jealous lover, guitarist Tish O'Malley, returning Corry to Em's apartment, finds the place wrecked (Farnsworth's home has been more discreetly tossed); and Tish goes out to start John's car moments before a bomb turns the car into a coffin. What's going on here? John is abducted by a pair of Frenchmen who beat him, demand "the disks," and assure him that they're his only true friends. His despised former Intelligence classmate Karl Aalstrom, wangling a meeting, offers him $5 million for the disks. Ex-Gen. Roscoe ("Punchy") Hunt, Macon-Bolt's security chief, bumps the stakes up to $10 million. Even the French ante up a hundred thou. What exactly do the disks reveal about the staggeringly costly Next-Generation Fighter-Bomber (NGFB)? Why is everybody willing to pay and kill to get them? And if everybody's so eager to help John get rich, why do they keep shoving guns in his face? Following the clues dropped by all the heavies who are taking turns interrogating him, John uncovers a suitably fiendish secret about the NGFB, one that'll lead to a denouement so high in casualties it's both unintentionally comic and deeply satisfying. Peters (The Devil's Garden, 1998, etc.) balances all this action and intrigue on a cast just big enough to keep the double-crosses spinning. The result is one of those rare thrillers that actually kills off its villains (and there are plenty) before they wear out their welcome. Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 1999

A collection of essays by top-selling Peters, author of A Perfect Soldier (1995). Reprinted from such military-science publications as Parameters, Army Times, and Strategic Review, these essays pose major questions about America's military preparedness to fight the type of conflicts likely to arise in the 21st century, those involving terrorist organizations (both independent and state-sponsored), ethnic strife, and an emerging Third World. Peters examines such possibilities with a sharp eye and then considers the ways in which the American armed forces are preparing to fight them. While his analysis is cogent, his conclusions—for example, that the spectacularly expensive weapons systems being produced today are designed to combat Cold War enemies that no longer exist—are hardly as shocking or controversial as he himself would have the reader believe. (In fact, as long as there has been a military, there have been critics to point out flaws in preparedness.) While Peters is a reasonably proficient writer, his essays are marred by trite epigrams placed throughout the text, offering such no-brainer musings as "Revolutions happen, above all, in the minds of men" and "If there is a single power the West underestimates, it is the power of collective hatred." When the author gets down to specific topics, such as the future of armored warfare or soldiering in an urban environment, he is at his best; unfortunately these sections form only a small portion of the book. And Peters's prose is pedantic, clichÇ-ridden, and repetitive. In general, the average reader will be as entranced as if reading a military-science dissertation. Read full book review >
THE DEVIL'S GARDEN by Ralph Peters
Released: Feb. 1, 1998

The balance of power in hapless Azerbaijan hinges on the fate of a kidnapped young woman—one Kelly Trost, snatched from her humanitarian wanderings by someone who killed her interpreter and all nearby witnesses. Despite this brutality, nobody would care about Kelly if she weren't the daughter of Senator Mitchell Trost, who has the power to block an oil pipeline scheduled to snake through Azerbaijan—and whom the Sons of Salvation, who claim responsibility for the kidnapping, consider the spawn of Satan. In truth, Mitch Trost doesn't wield nearly the power to appease the Sons by making the US sever diplomatic ties with Israel and fire all Jewish Americans in government posts. But his shadow is long enough to get action from the deceptively colorless US ambassador; from the Deputy Chief of Mission, Arthur Vandergraaf; from well-connected Oak Leaf Oil executive Dick Fleming; and from Lt. Col. Evan Burton, the temporary military representative in Baku. The trouble is that except Burton, a vintage steely-eyed Peters hero, the rest of the double-talking cast have agendas of their own—agendas that don't necessarily involve the freeing of Kelly Trost. The Azeris want the local Russian strongman blamed for her kidnapping; the silver-tongued diplomats and oilmen are wangling over which countries that pipeline should traverse; and even Burton's lover, Hedwig Seghers, is ready to betray her second-most-important allegiance, to her fiancÇe the German ambassador, to her first, which isn't Burton. When Burton goes hunting for Kelly, he finds that her abductors, whoever they are, can't hold on to her, or even save their own skins; and with every new twist on the original snatch, Peters (A Perfect Soldier, 1995, etc.) raises the stakes further. Long before the furious climax, a lot more than an oil pipeline has come to depend on the fate of Kelly Trost. Peters manages to be both rousing (definite summer movie possibilities here) and deeply disturbing. His portrait of the snakes mapping out current East-West diplomacy may make you long for the verities of the Cold War. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 8, 1995

A very well-done if bleak and cynical chiller from an old pro (The Flames of Heaven, 1993, etc.) in which Army counterintelligence operatives battle hit men from an erstwhile Soviet republic. Purposely kneecapped by a local warlord's top gun during a goodwill trip to a Baltic backwater, Major Christopher Ritter is nearly through rehab when he learns from Colonel Jeb Bates that Charlene Whyte, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Humanitarian Affairs, wants him as an aide. The widowed Ritter (who still mourns his wife, a cancer victim) meets with Whyte in the Pentagon, but refuses assignment to her staff on several counts: He and Whyte had been lovers in college, and in the interim she's become a virulently anti-military dragon lady of the left. After their meeting, however, while Whyte and Ritter are standing in a hallway, an ex-KGB general blows her office and himself to kingdom come, dragging the good soldier into a twisty high-stakes game of the sort he despises. Unbeknownst to Ritter and Bates (who's now a player), Whyte has her own agenda. The dead Russian general had planned to sell her evidence that Korean War POWs were executed by the Soviets; in turn, Whyte was to deliver these proofs to Senator Oliver Cromwell, her political patron and a lackey of commercial interests that want to destroy pictures that could cost them petroleum business in the former USSR. Ritter winds up babysitting the late general's daughter, Nadya Morozova, a dishy psychopath with whom he becomes sexually involved. She, too, though, has considerable personal ambitious, and slips away from the broody Ritter. The whole ugly mess is resolved in a violent, ironic confrontation on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, where Ritter comes face to face with the Eurasian assassin who crippled him. An elegantly written, engrossing, wintry tale, notable for its conviction that East/West clashes did not end with the Cold War. Read full book review >
FLAMES OF HEAVEN by Ralph Peters
Released: May 1, 1993

The circle of friends and relations surrounding a talented, immensely cynical, half-Russian artist cope in their various ways with the terrifying breakup of the Communist order in the Soviet Union. Peters's (The War in 2020, etc.) guide on this latest trip through the ruins of Lenin's great experiment is politically acceptable painter Sasha Leskov. Leskov, one of two sons of a Latvian mother and Russian military father, has come to a pleasant accommodation with the art apparat. The painters' union sends him off on assignments to paint flatteringly glorious military leaders, their battles, and their wives. In exchange for this ridiculous work, Leskov gets his own apartment, a nice salary, and the freedom to paint his own unsalable pictures. But this pleasant agreement founders as Gorbachev's new policies begin to shake things up. First in East Germany and later, in Riga, Leskov sniffs the first disturbing scents of freedom, and back in Moscow he finds that some of his friends are reaching better arrangements with the West than he's ever had in the USSR. At the same time, his domestic life becomes completely disrupted by an intense affair with Shirin Talala, the wild daughter of an immensely corrupt Uzbek politician, and enriched by the unlikely friendship of young career soldier Mikhail Samsonov. The affair with Shirin inevitably involves Sasha in the undeclared war springing up between the Russians and republics like Uzbekistan, and it's an involvement that deeply frightens Sasha's estranged brother Pavel, a KGB colonel who sees rather farther into the future than he would like. Among the great worries down the road is the ever less controlled force of Islamic fundamentalism. First-rate. Not only does Peters know everything there is to know about the old Soviet Union, but he writes beautifully and fits everything into a tight and original plot. The scenery, including trips to Samarkand and Tashkent, is not to be missed. Read full book review >
RED ARMY by Ralph Peters
Released: May 1, 1989

A detailed and intelligent look at the execution of a surprise attack on West Germany as seen from the Soviet viewpoint—by a former U.S. Army intelligence officer. The time is the near future. The Soviet government is faced with the last moments in which Soviet planning, manpower, and equipment will be capable of beating the constantly improving weapons technology of the West. And they seize the moment. Massing their troops in silence and stealth on the West German border, the Soviets and the Warsaw Pact countries launch a surprise attack on West Germany and the NATO defense forces. Author Peters tells the story exclusively from the Soviet side, limiting the action to the armies facing the NATO troops in north-central Germany. It's a very successful device that allows the reader to see Soviet planning and personalities as they would affect a land war far more effectively than the superepic approach. There's no Moscow and no Washington. Just the war. Peters gives us an aristocratic general with a genius for planning; another general who is a crude throwback to the Cossacks; a political officer who almost succeeds as a military leader when thrown into battle; a Jewish staff officer whose loyalties are totally Soviet; an artillery lieutenant colonel whose heart is on the farm; and various younger officers and enlisted men. And, wonder of wonders, they are all real people. There are none of the cardboard ninnies that are the curse of so many military novels. First-rate military novel that can be read and appreciated by a general audience. Outstanding battle scenes and, above all, a superb understanding of war. Read full book review >