Well that's 1 week of my life I'll never get back.
Wretchedly long winded.
I could not put this down. From the minute I picked it up to the minute I finished it. 2 days. The plot is amazing, the characters rich and luminous. Passion, ethics, history and everyday people woven into a tapestry of life and sorrow. Bravo to the author.
A hanger-on to the last. However, I got a little lost in the finale of the truth finally being told. The marriage of the pastor’s widow as well as the engagement between Joel and Mary were not developed in more detail. Overall, an magnetic account of the death march and guerrilla warfare.
Forced myself to finish the book and expected a better end. Historically accurate though .
A disjointed and painfully long book. Disappointing for a John Grisham novel.
Just a terrible read. Story put together poorly, outcome predictable and mostly filler from start to finish.
Really good book!🤪
Spartan Lit Reader
Despite this novel’s strong opening with a compelling plot and interesting characters, the story line collapses with an abundance of irrelevant information. The most disappointing Grisham novel to date.
I was so disgusted with the bad reviews based on the lack of a happy ending I could puke. If they were exposed to battle, there are serious reasons why few vets can talk about it. Here are two war stories from my family that were not in the book and there were several more.
Eugene Roper was my Dad’s first cousin. He stayed with the Roper’s in Kansas when he went to business school - was older than Gene and our families were close. Dad’s parents lived on a 50 acre farm in Missouri and could not support him in college. I was born when my mother was about 30 and most of these two stories are her words. I am 81 as I write this. I have vivid memories of both men.
Gene earned a degree in electrical engineering and was drafted by the Army before he got a job. He wound up in the Philippines for a time. When the US surrendered to the Japs he did the forced march to the coast now known as the Bataan Death March. The book covers it well. I am sure Gene experienced all the atrocities the Japs had to offer but he survived. However, this is not a happy ending.
The healthy prisoners were sent to the Japan mainland and put in slave labor camps. They were moved around as needed until they were liberated at the end of the war. In the interim, our family received Post cards with Japanese and English on them telling us he was treated well and well fed. All the while the men were working hard labor on a starvation diet.
It must have taken a very long time to move these emaciated men to the Hospital ships. In any case Gene, malnourished and diseased, died at sea. His cremated remains were buried at home in Kansas.
Haskel Coker was drafted as low as it goes and being a farm boy it was Stevie assumed he could handle blood and gore with no problem. However, there are limits and this is a story of man’s inhumanity to man within the US Army. He was sent to Germany.
My uncle Hack was assigned to a unit that went into the battle fields when the fighting was over and picked up body parts for burial, cremation or some other means of disposal. Plus, human bodies decompose slowly like any animal, it is grim, and the odor is putrid.
A fellow I worked with had seen action in Korea or WWll and heard us talking about this Great War movie we had seen. He told us all Hollywood war movies were sanitized. The next day he brought snap shots he had taken of bloated dead enemy soldiers laying on the side of the road as he was marching to the next battle. “The odor is missing” he said. “The movies will always lack the reality of being there.
Anyway Hack could not keep his food down and when he complained they accused him of “gold bricking.” He finally collapsed from malnutrition and woke up in a hospital. He told my mom that he was certain he had died and gone to heaven - everything was white and there were angels (nurses) in the room.
Hack was not reassigned so I am sure he was given a dishonorable discharge. His treatment by the army was not so different than Genes’ treatment by the Japanese in-the labor camps.
I am far from an experienced novel reader and takes a lot to keep me engaged in a one. However, from page one this book grabbed me and kept me in suspense until the final few pages. Grisham’s ability to provide a great overall plot while at the same time educate on the brutality our soldiers endured in Part 2 made this a definite page turner that was impossible to let down.