Spoils by Brian Van Reet

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It is eerie and somewhat disheartening to find so many parallels between them. It may not be news that war is hell, but our chronic forgetfulness of the fact makes Spoils feel not only rewarding but necessary.
-Guardian

Synopsis

The Kite Runner meets The Things They Carried in this explosive debut which maps the blurred lines between good and bad, soldier and civilian, victor and vanquished. 

It is April 2003. American forces have taken Baghdad and are now charged with winning hearts and minds. But this vital tipping point is barely recognized for what it is, as a series of miscalculations and blunders fuels an already-smoldering insurgency intent on making Iraq the next graveyard of empires.

In dazzling and propulsive prose, Brian Van Reet explores the lives on both sides of the battle lines: Cassandra, a nineteen-year-old gunner on an American Humvee who is captured during a deadly firefight and awakens in a prison cell; Abu al-Hool, a lifelong mujahedeen beset by a simmering crisis of conscience as he struggles against enemies from without and within, including the next wave of far more radicalized jihadists; and Specialist Sleed, a tank crewman who goes along with a "victimless" crime, the consequences of which are more awful than any he could have imagined.

Depicting a war spinning rapidly out of control, destined to become a modern classic, Spoils is an unsparing and morally complex novel that chronicles the achingly human cost of combat.
 

About Brian Van Reet

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Published April 18, 2017 by Lee Boudreaux Books. 304 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, War. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Spoils
All: 4 | Positive: 4 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Excellent
on Feb 02 2017

He embeds the reader with the unwashed troops in a cramped Humvee, in a dark cell where only screams penetrate, and in the mind of a Muslim fighter with two decades of campaigning, a dead son, a lost wife, scant wins, and more doubts than faith can ease. A fine piece of writing that should stand in the front ranks of recent war novels.

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The Economist

Good
on Jun 15 2017

At a time when political rhetoric is exacerbating divisions worldwide, this is a novel with an urgent message.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Anthony Cummins on May 28 2017

Yet Spoils is undeniably engrossing all the same – and smart, too, embedding in its structure a sharp appraisal of the conflict...

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by MARCEL THEROUX on May 10 2017

It is eerie and somewhat disheartening to find so many parallels between them. It may not be news that war is hell, but our chronic forgetfulness of the fact makes Spoils feel not only rewarding but necessary.

Read Full Review of Spoils | See more reviews from Guardian
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