Friendship Games

Fiction - Military
292 Pages
Reviewed on 05/16/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Keith Mbuya for Readers' Favorite

The fatal explosion and sinking of the majestic aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush at a US naval base in Bahrain was bad news for Iran. Especially after the US naval base suffered an attack from an Iranian-funded and supported terrorist organization amid rescue operations. With a long-standing record of political bad blood between Iran and the US, Iran knew better than to downplay the whole situation. War was coming, and there was no mistaking this. The deployment of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit by POTUS to an air base outside Doha, Qatar, only served to send a firm message of the inevitable to the Iranian government. But perhaps Rear Admiral Hashemi Ghavam, commander of the Islamic Republican Guard Corps Navy, had tricks up his sleeve to help Iran in future combat with American forces. Get yourself Friendship Games by Mark James to discover how it all goes down.

If you are looking for a fast-paced, action-packed, military, conspiracy, and political thriller, laced with a gripping tale of militia, insurrectionists, riots, diplomats, bureaucrats, army commanders, soldiers, power, drugs, betrayal, vengeance, humor, and suspense, Mark James’ Friendship Games is a must-read for you. Weaving an intriguing plot, readers are treated to high-octane, intense, and vivid scenes from cover to cover. The author’s knack for capturing the mood and setting of the scenes evocatively had me feeling as if I was in the middle of all the action. One moment I was in the Middle East watching members of an Islamic front in Bahrain launch terror attacks, or in Iran watching Iranian generals plan war strategies. The next moment I was in the Oval Office watching an overwhelmed POTUS kicking things into action. I could not help but add this book to my shelf of favorites. It’s an impressive piece of work and I loved it.

Frank Mutuma

Things were getting worse in Detroit with massive demonstrations and gang wars as the police holed up in the central districts to protect the businesses. At this moment of crisis, an enormous disaster struck the navy in Bahrain. President Belle needed the Detroit issue sorted out quickly to focus her attention on Iran. Hussein Salmeen had been busily radicalizing desperate youth into martyrs; could he put a leash on his zealous youths even as the orders had been to abort? Rear Admiral Hashemi Ghavam could see the folly of the mullahs and the imams beating war drums in Tehran. But what could he do to save his people? Can a war between Iran and the USA be stopped? And if it happens, how will things turn out not only for the two powers but also for the international community? Friendship Games by Mark James is a must-read!

Friendship Games by Mark James is not only a meticulously written and entertaining work of political thriller fiction but is also thought-provoking. The reader will appreciate the different perspectives Mark shows on war, like those of the military personnel, the civilians, and the politicians. The characters are also well-developed, and the seamless flow of the plotline will go a long way toward capturing the reader's attention. The author has also vividly demonstrated the events and emotions of the characters. Reading the suspense-filled Friendship Games by Mark James was like watching a movie. I can't wait to read something else from this talented author.

Essien Asian

An unexplained explosion aboard an American aircraft carrier in Bahrain shocks the world and the witnesses to this gruesome scene. While the world is still trying to come to grips with this tragedy, a terrorist attack on an adjoining US naval base by militants with ties to the Iranian Islamic Republic forces the American government to mobilize their troops in preparation for retaliatory action. With limited information coming out of the Arabian Gulf, some governments are advising restraint on the part of the aggrieved superpower. With distrust running deep between these two countries, all it takes is the right spark to start World War III. Will the dogs of war have their way or will cooler heads prevail? Only time will tell in Mark James’ Friendship Games.

In Friendship Games, Mark James gives us a chillingly realistic picture of how an all-out nuclear war could eventually break out. His characters are not just well thought out but are impressively portrayed with credible human traits. James uses graphic storytelling to paint a vivid picture of such disturbing proportions that you would be forgiven for tuning in to your local news station to assuage your fears. His battle theaters are painted with an attention to detail that can only come from considerable research. I was particularly impressed with his detailed discussion of the Iranian advance that leaves little to the imagination and provides a glimpse into modern desert warfare. This is not just an excellent story but a chilling reminder that we are all just a trigger finger away from the start of World War III.

Pikasho Deka

How would a possible war between the United States and Iran pan out in the near future? This is the premise of Mark James' gripping military thriller, Friendship Games. After an unprecedented attack on an American aircraft carrier by a terrorist organization backed by the Iranian regime in the Persian Gulf leads to the deaths of thousands of sailors and American lives, American forces are heavily deployed on multiple Middle Eastern bases, preparing for a full-scale attack. Events take an even darker turn when ICBMs land on American soil for the first time in history. Meanwhile, the entire Middle East becomes a devastating war zone as Iran strategically maneuvers its way into its several Middle Eastern neighbors. Trapped in the midst of it all is an elite group of Navy SEALs and Marines desperate to make their way out.

Mark James seamlessly integrates real-world geopolitical affairs and events to deliver an edge-of-the-seat military thriller. Friendship Games looks into a possible hypothetical war between the United States and Iran, drawing out a scarily realistic scenario where losing is not an option. James' narrative is filled with suspense, intrigue, and action. You get POVs from the top involving the decision-makers down to the soldiers on the ground. The plot makes you feel the stakes involved, with unexpected twists and turns to keep you glued to the pages. All in all, a thoroughly captivating military thriller that showcases war at all levels. Highly recommended.

Alma Boucher

Friendship Games is a military thriller by Mark James. The aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush was on fire, and sailors were dying. Everyone was desperate to do something to extinguish the flames and save their shipmates and the ship. There was no evidence that the ship had been attacked, and it might be seen as a tragic accident. Saleem Brigades were selected from disadvantaged and troubled youth who were eager to be good Muslims and soldiers. They were told that they were the vanguard of the Islamic Front of Bahrain. The Saleem Brigades were given an important mission that promised to make history. While the Americans are distracted during the rescue mission, an Iranian-funded terrorist organization launched an attack on the American base in Bahrain. This was the single worst disaster in history for the United States Navy.

Friendship Games is complicated and intriguing. The plot was engaging, and I was hooked from the start and could not turn the pages fast enough. Mark James described all the events in detail, and nothing was left out. I was drawn into the world he created, and I could hear the screams and moans of the burning soldiers with the clouds of smoke in the air. I felt I was a part of the chaos during the rescue mission. There were overwhelming, heart-racing moments, and the suspense kept me on the edge of my seat. The characters were fantastic and authentic. The role players were introduced one at a time, each with a detailed background. I enjoyed getting to know them better. The story was expertly written and much more than I expected. The story ended well and was fitting.