There’s a poem at the beginning, ‘The Brothers’ by Michael Wagg. When I first read it I thought it was something really special and when we get to the acknowledgements at the end, we find out just how special.
Sonny and Jamm’s story is told in distinctly different voices. We spend time with Sonny on the Ghost (estate) and with Jamm from the moment he’s touching down in Afghanistan. At the point where we leave each brother, we’re left with a cliffhanger, not knowing how it’s going to work out.
On the Ghost, we have the stereotypes you would expect with crews like the ‘Cuda’ and we learn from Sonny the commandments Jamm made that keep them safe … and which he doesn’t follow exactly. We have poignant scenes with hearses being driven along the High Street for the returning soliders …
In Afghanistan we arrive with Jamm and best mate Tommy at the Forward Operating Base and spend time on the hot, draining streets and buildings where the estate rules mean nothing.
In both places, I felt as if I was actually there with them. Earle’s writing is so evocative, it engages the senses and you feel the fear and adrenaline alongside our two brothers in their different environments. You feel the community and belonging alongside the loss and distress. I love the way Earle ‘shows’ us in a few words a depth of feeling.
When Jamm comes home on leave his experiences have scarred him. Sonny is the only one who can see there’s something wrong. It doesn’t take long for the action to begin and I couldn’t predict what would happen. I have to say that the ending was just perfect!
Heroic is a gut-wrenching and heart-breaking novel. It is sensitively written with the underpinning values of family and community – and the lengths those that are closest to you will go to protect you.
Even though I loved Earle’s first two novels, Heroic is even better!
I would like to thank the author for providing a copy, and signing it! in exchange for an honest review.