Along the Watchtower

Fiction - General
214 Pages
Reviewed on 05/16/2013
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

The urge to write first struck when working on a newsletter at a youth encampment in the woods of northern Maine. It may have been the night when lightning flashed at sunset followed by northern lights rippling after dark. Or maybe it was the newsletter's editor, a girl with eyes the color of the ocean. But he was inspired to write about the blurry line between reality and the fantastic.
Using two fingers and lots of white-out, he religiously typed five pages a day throughout college and well into his twenties. Then life intervened. He paused to raise two sons and pursue a career, in the process becoming a well-known entrepreneur in the software industry, founding several successful companies. When he found time again to daydream, the urge to write returned.
There Comes a Prophet, the first novel in this new stage of life, was published in July 2012. His second, Along the Watchtower, will be available in June 2013.
David and his wife split their time between Cape Cod, Florida and anywhere else that catches their fancy. He no longer limits himself to five pages a day and is thankful every keystroke for the invention of the word processor.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

"Along the Watchtower" is the story of Lieutenant Freddie Williams who was severely injured by an IED when he was on patrol with his group in Iraq. The story proceeds on two levels: we follow along as he recovers from his injuries in the VA hospital and begins an intensive course of physical therapy to regain the use of his legs; and we are also privy to his dreams, wherein he is the Dauphin, heir to a kingdom, a role he has been in training for all his life. Now that his father, the King, is dead, he must pass a series of challenges and trials. The survival of the kingdom and all its inhabitants is dependent on his successful completion of these tasks. In his waking life, in addition to the challenges he faces as he regains his ability to walk, Freddie carries a load of grief and regret, both for the loss of his comrades back in Iraq and the premature deaths of his parents and brother.

David Litwack's "Along the Watchtower" is a remarkable and timely novel that should appeal to a wide-ranging audience. The parallel stories grab the reader from the introductory paragraphs and keep them enthralled as Freddie progresses through the challenges and trials he faces. "Along the Watchtower" explores the extreme hardships faced by veterans whose physical injuries are often accompanied by brain injuries and emotional trauma. I was particularly interested in Freddie's interactions with the hospital staff and his fellow patients. Choosing the Cape Cod area also adds a lot to the work. From the ocean-front home Freddie shared as a child with his family to the ice-sculptures he visits during his convalescence, the environment is beautifully presented and adds to the enjoyment of the reader. I highly recommend this book and am looking forward to reading more of Litwack's books.

Kathryn Bennett

"Along the Watchtower" by David Litwack is a book that introduces us to Lieutenant Freddie Williams, a solider who served in the war in Iraq only to have it end when an IED explodes leaving his body and his mind completely shattered. A gamer who not only served in real war but was an expert at virtual war games, Freddie has a long road ahead of him, and finds that on this road to recovery he has two realities. The waking reality of pain, healing, trials with family and all the other things that come for a solider who has been through what he has. Then there is the world he slips into when he is sleeping. A world like a game that is full of fantasy, demons and magic. The two worlds are not too far off from one another as both have dangers, trials and a woman who seems to make it all better.

David Litwack has created a story that is rich in so many ways with many layers. Freddie was a character I related to very deeply in both his form as Lieutenant Freddie Williams and Prince Frederick. He is a man who has been through so much fighting for the freedoms of his country that he believes in. I have friends and family members who have served in war and have seen them come home broken as well. Becky is such a warm and loving character that you will wish you could pull her from the pages and have her around you as a friend; at least I did. Making both of the key characters in this story life-like and deep adds to the richness of the story itself. Anyone who has known someone who served in the armed forces should read this book. You should see what our wounded warriors go through to recover.

Fiona Ingram

An IED explosion in Iraq ends the war for Lieutenant Freddie Williams, leaving his mind and body shattered. Once a skilled gamer and expert in virtual and real warfare, he emerges from a medically induced coma to discover he is inhabiting two separate realities. The first is his waking world of pain, family trials, and remorse for living when his friends are dead. The second is a dark fantasy realm of quests, demons, and magic that Freddie enters when he sleeps. In his dreams, he is Frederick, Prince of Stormwind, who (after his father’s death) must survive horrific visions in order to save his embattled kingdom from the monstrous Horde. While in the conscious world, the severely wounded vet faces a strangely similar and equally perilous mission — a journey along a dark road haunted by demons of guilt and family ghosts that must be put to rest.

This is a trial by ordeal that readers will appreciate on several levels. The outer physical journey to recovery and the inner spiritual road to victory play out with the two worlds merging perfectly. Items from Freddie’s reality become hauntingly evocative icons in his dream world. Author David Litwack has an almost poetic approach to the fantasy level that contrasts sharply with the gritty, real world Freddie struggles (and almost gives up) within. I like this interesting contrast and in a way, the two levels are part of the great game of life that Freddie must win. But will he win, one wonders? His mind is haunted by demons; his body is struggling from the extent of his injuries. In his reality, he undergoes slow rehabilitation with Becky, his physical therapist. In the dream kingdom, he finds comfort in the royal gardens, where the gentle words of the beautiful gardener, Rebecca, calm the storms in his soul. Can he retrieve his original purpose in life? Will the demons of both worlds win? The title is part of a poem by Bob Dylan and captures the essence of the story. This is a great read and the author’s skill in building both worlds with gifted imagery becomes apparent as the story draws the reader in. I really enjoyed it. Highly recommended.

Kim Anisi

David Litwack combines the world of online gaming and events in the real world in his book “Along the Watchtower”. The story is about a young man, Freddie, whose legs get seriously injured by an IED. He wakes up in hospital and when he dreams, he is awake in another world – the world of the game “World of Warcraft”. In real life, he has to learn to walk again and he also has to learn to deal with people and his problems. In the dream world, he is a prince whose father has died. The prince has to master a set of challenges to be able to become the next king and save the world from the Horde. If he fails, the world will be overrun and life as people know it will end. The two worlds are intertwined with each other and the events that happen in one world have an influence on what happens in the other.

“Along the Watchtower” is an excellent read! I have enjoyed every single chapter, every single page. I am not a player of “World of Warcraft” but I do play other online role-playing games which helped me a lot in really living the story. However, I am sure that you do not need such a background to understand and enjoy the story. It is a mix of fantasy and real life, a mix of magic and the harsh reality of a world in which we wish there was magic. The book could have been longer; I was a bit sad when it all was over. David Litwack managed to write a wonderful story in a beautiful writing style that catches your attention and doesn't let it go without a fight.

Maria Beltran

"Along the Watchtower" is the story of an emotionally scarred US war veteran who is wounded in Iraq. First Lieutenant Frederick Williams wakes up in a military hospital in Ramstein to find out that he lost his team and that he is suffering from physical injuries after being exposed to an IED explosion. An expert in virtual warfare, he has played video games to cope up with the horrors of war and now found solace in a recurring dream, where he becomes Prince Frederick, who has to protect his kingdom from evil and malice. Becky, his physical therapist, uncovers the earthy man while Rebecca, the gardener, is his rock and guide in the virtual world. While Frederick Williams recuperate from his physical injuries, his past and present demons confront him. It will be a long and interesting journey.

This is the story of a man who is caught between two worlds - one of the wounded war hero saddled with emotional issues, and the other a world of fantasy. David Litwack writes with detached emotion and successfully plays on the reader's affection for his main character. Frederick Williams is a broken man full of despair and as a coping mechanism, his fantastic hopes and desires appear to him in his dream. The story of his life is one that reveals to the readers the ugly repercussion of a war and and this should resonate deeply because this particular war is still being fought today. Litwack's "Along the Watchtower" effectively negotiates between the real world and the world of fantasy that Frederick probably wishes it to be. And the author's writing style is certainly at its best when he deals with the depths of his characters' psychology. Mixing reality and fantasy, "Along the Watchtower" is a story that attempts to reach the truth of humanity and it is this element that makes the narrative powerful and persuasive.


My Father was in World War2 he passed away last year he love to read he got me into reading I know he would love this book.