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Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite
If you are looking for a solid, mesmerizing, and gripping military novel that hinges tautly on historical foundations, then Code of Conduct by Karen Black is your perfect pick. Matt Tillet is an F-8 Crusader pilot whose plane is shot down over North Vietnam in 1966 and who narrowly escapes the wreck. He is immediately captured by the Vietnamese militiamen. Subjected to torture and all forms of inhuman treatment as a POW, especially the infamous Green Room, enduring months of solitary confinement, he survives only by keeping alive the dream that he might one day return to his wife and two children. Back in San Diego, his wife, Bobbie, raises the kids alone. When Matt is repatriated in 1973, he comes home to a shattered dream. Can he get back his family and the love of a wife who hasn’t seen him for so many years?
This is a heart-wrenching story that is cleverly delivered and makes readers think about the reality of war and its aftermath, not only for the fighters but for those left behind as well. The author paints a picture that many families who have had a loved one at war must be familiar with. The setting takes readers from Vietnam back to the US and shows how everyone suffers in times of war. It is gripping and absolutely engrossing, and Karen Black does a wonderful job in exploring the hearts of the characters. Code of Conduct brought tears to my eyes and struck chords that I wasn’t aware existed. It is a powerful story that drives home the message that things are never the same after war.