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Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on May 26, 2013
First third of the book is slower as the author introduces us to Company K replacements and then the new post and its men. Perhaps with so many characters to meet and to feel like part of the cadre, this was needed, but I nearly lost interest. About halfway through the book it did pick up and kept my interest to the end. The final battle series on the plains was very well done albeit drawn out a few chapters too many in my opinion. The last criticism to add was the addition of language which I did not feel was needed for either character or story development, especially a F bombs salted throughout the work. While I do not doubt that profanity was part of enlisted life, only an occasional BS towards Army leadership seemed natural.
On the positive side Lt. Stark, a ranker, becomes a very acceptable hero and martyr throughout the book. You can't help but be pulling for him throughout the book. He has been through the ranks and earned his promotion to "officer & Gentleman", but the Office Class (West Point and political appointees) look down on him; yet Lt. Stark is the one officer that can get them any hope of relief. Such come to the rescue with common sense and sound military tactics seems natural to Stark as he leads his enlisted men, where as the other officers (Captains who held higher ranks in the War Between the States) it was labored. Stark seemed to have a focus on men first mission second where as the other officers (other than the green Lt. Conway)were out for glory, headlines, promotions. This conflict of interests was well played out in the book.
There is also the story of Harry Winston, the enlisted fresh recruit, who was out to prove himself and become an accepted member of K Company. For some this could have been the main plot line. It is also an interesting sub plot and many could relate to his struggle to be one of the accepted men of K Company as most of us have had some similar memories of being a "newbie" in some organization and having to work to gain acceptance.
With all the factors considered I rate this book between 3 & 4 stars. Better than most 3's but not quite a 4. Some editing and condensing could drive it higher on ratings. I again stress the last half to third of the book seems the strongest, so when you purchase and read, make sure you take it all the way to the end.