Wonderful, haunting, heartbreaking, chilling, compelling, and beautiful hardly begin to describe this novel. Literary giant, Tom Wolfe, described it as "The All Quiet on the Western Front of America's Arab wars." Powers paints a vivid picture of what it was like to serve as an American soldier in the middle east and then come back and deal with the trauma of what you've experienced. Chapters are told in non-linear timelines and the author goes back and forth, from before the war, during and after. It all leads up to - what happened to Murphy, the 18 year old soldier he promises to look after? The war scenes were graphic but I thought the most emotionally grueling was the trauma of coming home and trying to figure out how to live again. How to re-enter society and deal with all the hell he saw abroad, I really felt for him. Raw and gripping!