Decision of Fate

A Novel of Armoured Combat in the Great War

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
374 Pages
Reviewed on 10/13/2019
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Author Biography

In the wake of 9/11, I returned to active duty as a Captain in Army Intelligence. Over the decade that followed, I served in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other lesser-known theaters of 21st Century conflict. After reaching the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, I returned to the private sector as a corporate executive, attorney, and author. I retired from the Army Reserve as a full Colonel in 2019.

I began writing as a way to deal with the challenges that come from serving in inconclusive wars. After speaking with my fellow veterans - from both the military and civilian intelligence communities - I realized my situation wasn't unique. Veterans from every war return home with an infuriating inability to communicate how they feel about their experiences. I found writing both an outlet for my own passions and a way to bridge that gap. Perhaps by writing stories, I can demonstrate that wartime experience is more complicated and nuanced than many realize.

A friend once asked if I was haunted by the war. "No," I replied. "I'm haunted by the peace." I hope my stories go some way toward explaining what that means.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Decision of Fate is a work of military and historical fiction penned by author Steven B. Howery. Subtitled: “A Novel of Armoured Combat in the Great War”, this story is recommended for mature audiences due to its realistic content of conduct and conditions during the First World War. Widely considered as a huge period of industrial growth and innovation, the wartime and its many battles inspired inventors to push the boundaries, particularly with the development of the armoured tank. In this novel, we follow a young man who returns injured from the Battle of Loos and finds himself involved in the earliest stages of battle-ready tanks, about to enter the field of war.

It is a must in historical fiction that authors know their stuff, and Steven B. Howery takes us through superbly well researched and intimately detailed accounts of the development of artillery and the all important tank throughout his novel. Amid these excellent details and descriptions, there emerges an authoritative narrative style which gives the book its sense of dignity, but Howery also takes a holistic view of the experience of being in the trenches. As his stylish wordplay lays out the overall developments of the battles to come, dynamic dialogue, vivid depictions and clever choice of scene arrangement allow us a much closer look into the daily lives of the trench soldiers, as well as the people of France watching the carnage unfold in their homeland. Overall, Decision of Fate is a superb work which is highly recommended for historical and military fiction fans everywhere.

Rabia Tanveer

Decision of Fate: A Novel of Armoured Combat in the Great War by Steven B. Howery is the story of Private John “Jack” Mallory as he navigates the harsh environment of war and tries to live a life that he can be proud of. Jack dropped out of college and joined the army, thinking that this was the best path for him. However, thinking about the war and being a part of it is very different. After he barely survives an attack in France, he is brought back to England to heal and recover. While recovering, he gets in touch with an officer in charge of a new corps specializing in using tanks in the Great War. Drawn into new technology that can help their cause, Jack embarks a journey in which he learns his full potential and realizes that there is a lot more to becoming a soldier than meets the eye. Jack now has a bigger responsibility on his shoulders; can he make it while trying his best to survive this wretched war?

This was a very different novel. I have read a lot of literature on World War I, but not many talk about this aspect of the war. I had no idea that tanks had this kind of impact on the war. It was fascinating to read the history behind it, the development and how it changed the world as we know it. Jack’s character is very strong yet very humble. His emotions, his determination, and his tenacity to rise above what happened to him and make a difference were very commendable. Even more commendable was the author’s ability to dig deeper, research and put all that hard work into this novel. I was blown away with how vivid and intricate it was. It is an action-packed, fast-paced, educational and very emotional story. Anyone who loves history and wants to add to their knowledge should definitely read it.

Kathryn Bennett

Decision of Fate: A Novel of Armoured Combat in the Great War is written by Steven B. Howery. World War I was the first war that industrialized combat. The old way of two sides lining up and charging would vanish and give way to trenches. Follow the progress of tank warfare through the eyes of a young soldier injured in 1915 at the Battle of Loos as he suffers from what we now call PTSD and works to break the stalemate that gripped the Western Front. Yet it is not all blood and mud; there are very human elements to be found among war. Friendship, bonds, and even love.

World War I seems to be a war that many people are starting to forget about. More importantly, they forget that it was the first war that really used vehicles as weapons, and many other forms of weaponry we are familiar with today. I personally had no idea of just how interesting was the way the tank progressed during this war. While we see it through the eyes of a fictional character, it is very evident that a great deal of research has gone into this book and author Steven Howery knows what he is talking about.

The human side of this story is no less fascinating. Jack, the young man who we follow events with, is amazingly brave but he does also suffer. However, within that suffering from PTSD, we find moments of human decency among it all. It is easy to think that in war people forget to be decent, but we must remember that no matter what side we are on, we are still human. This is a very emotional and touching story that has history blended with fiction and humanity. It is a book I would highly recommend.