Another Review at MyShelf.Com

The Warriors
Tom Young

G.P. Putnam’s Sons
July 11, 2013 / ISBN 9780399158476


Reviewed by Elise Cooper

Tom Young’s latest book, The Warriors, has a new setting. Instead of war torn Afghanistan it takes readers back to the forgotten Serbia-Bosnia conflict. In addition to its historical significance, the novel also brings back the potent characters of Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Michael Parson and Army Sergeant Sophia Gold.

This story was a bit personal for Young since he had witnessed this conflict from two perspectives. In Washington, DC he had worked for the Associated Press to coordinate coverage, and as a flight engineer with the Air National Guard he flew airlift missions over this area.

He commented to, “I found it hard to watch Yugoslavia tear itself apart while the world stood by. After the Holocaust the world said Never again, but there was this ethnic group that was targeted for extinction until NATO forces eventually intervened. I was frustrated that originally the story did not receive much coverage and how initially no one seemed to react.”

The plot has Parsons and his supporting cast, including Gold, pitted against a wealthy Serbian arms dealer, Viktor Dusic, who wants to use a terrorist attack to reignite the war. In this book, more than in his other novels, the characters drive the plot. To explain the motivations he writes from Dusic’s point of view.

He is hoping to show the irony, post 9/11, that in this conflict the Muslims were the victims of atrocities versus in Afghanistan where the Islamic extremists commit vicious acts. This becomes evident through two quotes about women in the book. A Bosnian woman was taken by the Serb Duslic who “slapped her. Then he pulled his sidearm. With one hand he grabbed her by the hair…You’re going to bear a Serb child.” Young compared this to the Taliban who “opposed any education for girls. Terrorists blew up schools, threw acid in girls’ faces, murdered teachers.”

The author is able to get his point across through his character’s eyes. Parsons uses his “country boy” skills to outwit Duslic, including the strategy of a “deer stand.” Young explained, “Parsons is an outdoorsman because the author is one also. In fact, many pilots find these types of skills very useful. I wanted my character to be a man of action, impulsive, courageous, and loyal to his friends. I contrasted this country boy with Gold who is analytical, spiritual, and is Parson’s alter ego.”

Young also gave a heads up about his next book. The setting will be in North Africa. Just as in this book, Gold had a new position, working as a UN translator because Young wanted to expand her role. In the future book she will be interpreting Arabic as she and Parsons go up against a terrorist group that takes advantage of the chaos in that area of the world. He is also going to bring back as the main character Marine Gunnery Sergeant Blount, the no-nonsense and politically incorrect character from The Renegades.

Young uses all of his novels to convey the nature of conflicts whether in North Africa, Afghanistan or as in the case of The Warriors, Bosnia-Serbia. He skillfully shows the mindset and motivation of those who fought in and became victims of this forgotten war. As the author explained, “I wanted to be true to what happened in real-life and to remind people of what went on and what could happen when the international community turns it back.”

Reviewed 2013