If you’re looking for a big novel you can settle in with then this is what you’re looking for. Over seven hundred absorbing pages about a former army Lieutenant being court martialed for a massacre in Hue,Vietnam eighteen years ago. The army wants to rectify the mistakes it made in the court martial of Lt.Calley and his men for the Mei Lei massacre.
Ben Tyson works for a New York firm that’s been taken over by the Japanese. On a commuter train into the city a friend gives him a new book written by Andrew Picard called, “Hue:Death Of A City.” It’s a non-fiction account of a massacre at a French hospital where over a hundred people were killed including women and babies. Ben was the platoon leader and is featured prominently in the account.
Ben has had a good life over the years with living in the suburbs and vacationing in the Hamptons. His wife Marcy was part of the anti-war movement and Life magazine printed a picture of her leading a nude protest all those years ago. Now because Ben is gaining notice due to the book the picture has resurfaced and the tabloid American Investigator prints it.
Due to regulations Ben is called back into the army to face charges of murder. He’s blamed for not reporting the massacre or trying to stop it and agreeing to a cover up. The book has two witnesses willing to testify against him. Ben hires civilian lawyer Vince Corva to defend him. His record isn’t the best but a Colonel recommended him.
Ben ends up at Forth Hamilton in Brooklyn in a small BOQ house. Marcy and their sixteen year old son David are in a summer vacation place but do come to visit. The public is 0n his side as more details come out. His men can’t be prosecuted because they are no longer in the army.
Rather than reveal too much I will say this is a great read that takes in war and men under extreme pressure and what they can be driven to in the heat of battle. The novel has a lot of cynicism especially from lawyer Corva. Ben Tyson is quite a character as he deals with a tabloid reporter, two of his men who turned on him and a female investigator from the army who brings out some difficult feelings as Marcy fluctuates between being supportive and trying to deal with her PR job.
This is a long novel that is never dull and will pull you in. Don’t pass it by.