SAND AND FIRE by Tom Young

Sand And Fire
Tom Young
G. P. Putnam and Sons
Pub date: July 10th, 2014

Sand And Fire, Tom Young’s latest, is a gripping military thriller. It is obvious with his fifth novel that he has become a proficient author in the military book genre. He does not focus on the Air Force branch, as with his past novels, but details in this thriller what it is like to be a US Marine.

Young’s main characters, Colonel Michael Parson and Sophia Gold, from previous novels, take a secondary role in this one. The story centers on Gunnery Sergeant A. E. Blount, a six-foot-eight, formidable warrior, and the grandson of one of the first black Marines. The plot becomes riveting after Blount decides to retire from the Marines. After stopping off at a US base in Germany, he witnesses a chemical terrorist attack at a nightclub frequented by many US service people. Upon returning stateside to his wife and two children he learns of more bio terrorist attacks and decides to re-enlist. Setting out with a strike force the mission is to kill or capture the terrorists in North Africa. It becomes a botched mission leaving some Marines killed, some captured, and the jihadist blackmailing America to withdraw its forces. Parson and Gold lead the NATO effort to rescue Blount and his colleagues and terminate the terrorist threat.

Having flown nearly 4000 hours as a flight engineer for the Air National Guard during the War on Terror he is able to create very realistic scenes based on his experiences. There are a number of sub plots that give the reader a glimpse into the mindset of those serving and their families. He touches on important issues such as PTSD, the effect multiple deployments have on the family, the cooperation amongst the different branches, and the dangers those fighting the terrorists must face.

Sand And Fire is an action packed thriller. It is reminder that the War on Terror is not over and of the brutality of the terrorists. This story will tear at the reader’s heartstrings, making them feel they are part of the emotional decision to choose between family and duty. This is a riveting, insightful, and realistic story of one US Marine.

Elise Cooper