GOD'S CHILDREN by Harold Coyle


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Another penetrating dissection of the passion and terror of warfare from the modern master of life-under-combat, this time

on a snowbound Slovakia, where a mixed bag of US Army infantry, acting as NATO peacekeepers, cope with murderous "ethnic

cleansers"—and a far more threatening conflict between commanding officers.

After examining battlefield bravado in American history, Coyle goes back to the near future, picking up the adventures of

Army Lt. Nathan Dixon, son of his series hero Scott Dixon (Code of Honor, 1994, etc.). Nathan's cushy job as a battalion staff

officer, is interrupted when he’s ordered to accompany a platoon led by greenhorn Lt. Gerald Reider on what is supposed to be

a routine ’show of force" mission. Sparks fly long before the two lieutenants leave their battalion base: The product of the

Virginia Military Institute and his father's hard-won wisdom, Dixon is put off by Reider, an elitist martinet fresh out of West

Point. Meanwhile, Reider views Dixon's presence as a meddlesome imposition on his command. The two are barely speaking

as their platoon trudges off into Slovakian hills to rendezvous with a trio of American tanks 25 kilometers away. Their orders

are ambiguous: protect civilians, don't start any conflicts, be prepared to return fire if fired on. Coyle uses the escalating squabbles

between the two men to illustrate contrasting styles of leadership, delivering intricate if long-winded asides about how crucial

a commander's slightest twitch can be in maintaining control. Reider makes several mistakes, barely escaping calamity. When

Dixon finds the burning hulk of a US tank, and can't contact the base on the platoon radio, he concludes that war has finally

broken out. The platoon is then torn apart after a series of heartstopping, brutally realistic firefights, and the two officers,

separated by hostile forces, must fight their way back any way they can.

A grunt's life that, despite too many lectures on military mores, and a distracting romantic subplot, succeeds as an engrossing,

uncompromisingly suspenseful tale of heroic adventure. ($150,000 ad/promo; radio satellite tour)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-312-86296-2
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Forge
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2000


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