Correspondance inédite de Victor-François, duc de Broglie, maréchal de France, avec le prince Xavier de Saxe, Cte de Lusac, lieutenant général, pour servir à l'histoire de la Guerre de Sept-Ans (Campagnes de 1759 à 1761)

Albin Michel
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Publisher
Albin Michel
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Published on
Dec 31, 1761
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Pages
750
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Best For
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Language
French
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This content is DRM protected.
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THE SAVAGE WARS OF PEACE

by

Darcy Vernier

SYNOPSIS

Jake Brabston was a Marine helicopter pilot in Afghanistan. On a recon mission he was shot down and was the only survivor. Two days in the rugged countryside, including one as a POW, have left him haunted and peripatetic. Were he in a western novel he would be called a “drifter.”

Years later while working in a French Quarter strip club, he is recruited by his old commanding officer, Walt Macbeth, a man with many years in Africa, but unknown priorities. With nothing to keep him in New Orleans, and the belief that there are no bad flying jobs, Jake is off to the Sudan. When he accepted Macbeth's offer he said that he just wanted to fly: "No do-gooder stuff."

Tamsin Amidon is an idealistic relief worker, dedicated to her work. She is beautiful, smart, sexy, and, normally, uninterested in any kind of commitment to anything but her job. She is the quintessential "do-gooder." In many ways it is her story as much as it is Jake’s.

While in Mombassa the two of them meet and fall, if not in love, certainly in lust. The longer they are together, Jake's demons fall away and he understands more and more of the basis for Tamsin's selfless dedication, and how empty his life has been. Bit by bit, he learns that it may be possible to achieve a balance, to even out the scale of lives lost, with lives saved. Tamsin teaches him to take “the small victories.”

Together, the two of them share a number of adventures, which reflect the turbulent, dangerous part of the world in which they're working. Friends are murdered by rampaging mohajadeen; the evacuation of a hospital is interrupted by government MiG fighters. Finally, while escorting a UN food barge headed up the Nile, Tamsin is kidnapped by government soldiers. She and two other relief workers witness the massacre of hundreds of Dinka families, an event which actually occurred in 1986. The others are killed and Tamsin is raped, brutalized, and left for dead.

When Jake hears of the barge hijacking, he immediately tries to learn what happened, but is told by Macbeth to “mourn appropriately and get on with your life.” It seems that there was more than food items on the barge, and Macbeth and whoever he is working for, were in the middle of it.

Ignoring Macbeth’s directive, Jake finds and rescues Tamsin. He gets her back to the aircraft, but, as they are flying to safety, she asks him to go back for a group of women and children who would surely be killed by the soldiers. Knowing the risks but knowing that he must take them, Jake lands and loads the women and children. As they make their escape, a Sudanese soldier fires a Stinger missile that cripples their aircraft and kills Tamsin. Jake flies on, alone, across the Sudan, towards safety.

Synopsis

THE SECOND WAGON DRIVER

by

Darcy Vernier

The Second Wagon Driver is the story of a Marine CH-46 helicopter pilot in Vietnam.

It has plenty of the action expected in a Vietnam story, but it is also a coming-of-age novel

whereby the protagonist learns about himself and the world in a very tense time and in a very

dangerous occupation. The novel is a continuum of twenty-three stand-alone chapters which

detail a one-year tour with the Marine Corps in the Republic of South Vietnam. The start of

Chapter One reads:

He was the very picture of salty, with the starched USMC cover pulled low over his

eyes, the faded camouflage utilities, the worn but clean jungle boots, his silver 1/Lt bars

and gold wings the only bright contrast to the faded green and brown of the uniform. He

was fully aware of his look of combat competence, the look of someone who had been

everywhere and done it all, the old hand, the tough, wily veteran. He was completely full

of shit.

The start of Chapter Twenty-Three, the last chapter, reads:

He was the very picture of salty, with the starched USMC cover pulled low over his

eyes, the faded camouflage utilities, the worn but clean jungle boots, his silver 1/Lt bars

and gold wings the only bright contrast to the faded green and brown of the uniform. He

was fully aware of his look of combat competence, the look of someone who had been

everywhere and done it all, the old hand, the tough, wily veteran. He was every bit of that.

The intervening chapters trace the transition of 1/Lt David Crichton and the running

battle he fights with fears of cowardice contrasted with acts of courage. He is an excellent pilot,

but probably not the ideal Marine. At various times he flouts the regulations, the occasional

direct order, and shows a massive amount of disrespect to senior officers or anyone else who

doesn’t seem to share his view of the war, and the world at large.

He seems to have no fear, which is not about having courage. It simply never occurs to

him that he could be hurt. He goes through some harrowing times: capturing a Russian helicopter

flown by a Chinese pilot, picking up a recon team in direct violation of his commanding officer’s

orders, and spending three days in the bush.

After being caught in a zone by mortar and machine-gun fire, he wakes up alone, on the

ground, still strapped to his seat but with no aircraft and none of his crew around. He sets out to

try to walk to find the “friendlies” but is captured by an NVA patrol. He kills two soldiers and is

horrified by the ease with which he was able to do it. Finally, he is picked up and taken back to

his base.

In the end, Dave is on his way home, in the “Freedom Bird” headed back to the World,

when a Viet Cong fires at his airliner, out of frustration as much as evil intent. One round passes

through the belly of the aircraft, through Dave’s seat, and into his body, finishing its journey in

his heart, killing him instantly. In the epilogue is the comment, “...Vietnam was ours. It shot us

in the ass and broke our hearts...”

Most of this book was written in the early 1970s, but it took forty years for the author to

read it comfortably enough to work with it.

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