Humankind seems to have an enormous capacity for savagery, for brutality, for lack of empathy, for lack of compassion. – Annie Lennox
Battles are won by slaughter and maneuver. The greater the general, the more he contributes in maneuver, the less he demands in slaughter. – Winston Churchill
I read a lot of thriller and action adventure novels, so I expected this novel to be yet another rollicking read for me. To say that I couldn’t have been more wrong is a gross understatement. I mean no disrespect to Mr. Bond. I know that he lived through a lot of this hell as the story is based on his own horrifying experiences as one of the few journalists to survive this ghastly American funded war. Caught up in bloody, savage battles between Guatemalan people, their oppressive army and the secret machinations of the CIA (why is one not surprised?) Bond pulls you into the horrors of life in Guatemala, forcing you to nearly breathe the oppression and senseless and horrendous slaughter.
Ok, that is the “good” stuff. Other reviewers have written of who, and what, Joe Murphy is, and what the story is “about.” Which is good, as I was totally unable to finish it. I know that monstrous things happen, usually to people who do not, under any circumstances, deserve the sort evil they are forced to suffer. Normally, I have a pretty high tolerance for that sort of thing. In this case, that is so far from reality that we aren’t even on the same planet.
The descriptions of rape and slaughter were so hideously explicit that I simply had to stop before I totally lost my mind. The descriptions of the rape of young girls – and especially the scenes where the rape is portrayed from the rapist’s point of view, turned my stomach.
We study the injustices of history for the same reason that we study genocide, and for the same reason that psychologists study the minds of murderers and rapists… to understand how those evil things came about. – Jared Diamond
Overall, what I did read of the book before I had to strip it off my Kindle was a story of the slaughter of innocents – men, women and children suffering a depth of brutality that is unimaginable. Bloody carnage beyond all sense of humanity, fed by lies and political agendas, drugs and drug lords, all at the expense of the poor and the innocent. While this book clearly wasn’t one that I enjoyed in any way, I am certain that there are those out there who will have the opposite reaction. 75% of readers who posted reviews on goodreads found it acceptable, or even “good.” That simply wasn’t my finding. The unrelenting, mindless brutality is highly disturbing and absolutely not a read for the faint of heart. Or even the hearty of heart, like me. I would think you would need a cast-iron constitution to handle this book.
I received this edition from Mandevilla Press in exchange for my honest review.