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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.