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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
If you’re looking for a lightweight, cosy read, don’t pick up The Warrior by Phillip Davidson. On the other hand, if you like books that challenge your beliefs and invite you to question life, morality, religion, duty, honour and man’s purpose here on earth, snap up The Warrior. But a couple of provisos before you do that: you must enjoy, or be interested in, or relate to what it is like to serve in the military; you need to have a strong stomach; you need to accept the ramifications of PTSD, and you must be ready to suspend any tendencies to dismiss the supernatural, paranormal, or at least the possibility that there are forces in our universe beyond what we see in our everyday lives. If you can do all that, you will get into The Warrior and not be able to put it down.
The novel is centered around a group of Vietnam vets who went to hell and back over a decade before. They have seen atrocities and have committed atrocities. They’ve all returned to civilian life in different capacities and jobs and suddenly, one of their team, the mysterious Keaton, begins visiting them all at different times and in different places. He is calling on them to follow through on a covenant they made wherein they had called on God to deliver them from what would have been certain death at the hands of the Viet Cong in the jungle. They survived, but now Keaton has come to tell them it’s time to follow through on the promise of the covenant: that if any one of them ever needed their help, they would come together to fulfill that promise. Well, now that time has come: their former leader’s wife, Sonya, is being held captive by the junta in Argentina. The group’s mandate is to band together to free her. It’s a dangerous and mind-blowing job to free David’s wife, but they are, after all, soldiers and duty calls.
As each member fights this last call to duty, Phillip Davidson takes us into the minds, memories and personal battles each faces with what they have been taught, learned and become over their lives. Nightmares haunt David’s sleep and alcohol has become his escape. But he must somehow save his wife. And there is one more thing that is blowing his mind: Keaton. He was at Keaton’s funeral many years prior. How is it that now Keaton is visiting and talking with him and all the others. How is this possible? Did Keaton, in fact, not die? Is this part of a CIA cover up? All these questions David and the others cannot answer will propel the reader through the many pages of The Warrior.
Some readers may find the sequence of The Warrior a bit difficult to follow: there are flashbacks, scene changes and tons of characters. The novel flips back and forth between introspective thinking and action. But Phillip Davidson knows what he is doing and brings it all home properly. It is not a fast read: it's too deep for that. It might be worth the reader’s time to visit the author’s website. There is a book trailer that will prepare you for this engrossing, but mentally challenging read. Definitely not a book for those who don’t like to go too deep. Going deep can be frightening.