Welcome to the series where authors in the Cafe and Bookstore an extract from their most recent book. If you are in the Cafe, and would like to participate you can find all the details here: Share an Extract
The first author in the new series is Patricia Furstenberg with an extract from Silent Heroes, set in Afghanistan where families, troops serving their country and service dogs, face daily dangers. A book that I can highly recommend.
About Silent Heroes
‘Silent Heroes’ is a highly emotional read, action-packed, a vivid story of enormous sacrifice and bravery.
*’Silent Heroes’ is the ideal read for the fans of ‘The Kite Runner’ and ‘Dear John’!*
When Talibans descends in the village of Nauzad and discover girls can read, a woman accepts the blame and is killed on the spot for breaking the Islam law. Her teenage daughter witnesses the sacrifice and swears revenge, her life and that of her brother becoming intertwined with those of the US Marines serving at FOB Day nearby. But the Taliban is infiltrated everywhere and friends or foes are hard to differentiate.
The U.S. Marines fight with bravery to protect the civilians of Nauzad and to fend off the Taliban at Qala-e-Bost, thus protecting Bost Airport, a vital strategic point for the allies. Faced with questions about the necessity of the war, with the trauma of losing their platoon-mates and the emotional scars of battle, the US Marines race against time in one last battle of eradicating the Taliban before it is too late.
The War in Afghanistan is a contemporary, vitally important conflict whose meaning needs to be understood by the public worldwide. ‘Silent Heroes’ is a narrative about the value of life and the necessity of combat; the terror of dying; the ordeal of seeing your loved ones and your platoon-mates killed in front of your eyes; the trauma of taking a human life.
Read about very well trained MWDs, military working dogs, capable of detecting the smallest traces of explosives, working in the extreme weather condition environments, under the stressful battlefield situations that is the War in Afghanistan.
Smart and agile, at the end of the day what these dogs are looking forward to is the close bond they developed with their handlers, which call themselves the dog’s partners, brothers, daddies.
From the storyteller of the Bestseller “Joyful Trouble” comes a riveting, fictional account inspired by the War in Afghanistan, a battle that spanned centuries and has affected the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians.
“Light, knowledge, they bring the courage to look at the people around us, accepting them for what they are.”
“Do you ever think that history speaks of victors and captors, of battles and soldiers whose lives have been lost and history even counts them, but of the casualties on the civilian side?”
“When soldiers grieve, time takes a screenshot and a new star rises in the sky.”
An extract from the book
One of the favourite pastimes of the U.S. soldiers deployed to FOB Day was soccer.
In this lonely outpost situated in the middle of hostile territory, where the only links with home were through the language they spoke and the short Skype video calls to families left behind, taking part in activities outside their daily routine of physical training and killer missions, like soccer, was relished by all.
Even the dogs from their K9 unit were watching the display of unbound testosterone and childish banter.
Seb’s dog Tara, a three year old Belgian Malinois with fawn fur and a black mask over her nose, a combination that made her look more like a fox than a dog, was lying with her head on her front paws, only the subtle lift of her inner eyebrow and the movement of her eyes revealing that she was actually watching the game. Every now and then she would puff with gusto through her nose, as if saying ‘they act like a bunch of kids playing.’
Honda, next door, was Dunn’s dog, a seven years old German Shepard with a classic black and tan coat and black saddle, an IED and human sniffer dog, especially of hidden Taliban insurgents. Honda slept now. She would keep her legs extended, save for her front right paw that was bent and would spring with the cheers of the soccer crowd as if she, too, chased the ball.
Next to Honda, awake and alert, was Kent’s dog Rambo. He was a black German Shepard with tan socks, an IED and human sniffer dog. His thick, luscious coat shined with his every move. He sat now, eyes trained on the ball, ears perched, only to stand every now and then and approach the fence of his enclosure, tail low, wagging in support. He would have spotted Kent’s tall frame among the players.
Covered in sweat and dust the Marines relished in the general buzz, the homely feel of a hassle-free game of two halves. For these young men, some of them not even 21 years old, so intent on finding IEDs and hidden Taliban fighters, so set in their army ways, the only purpose now was to get a turn at kicking that ball around. It didn’t matter that their entire field of action was an 18-yard box. It was their sixty minutes ticket out of reality.
The fourth MWD was Xena, Conde’s tireless Belgian Malinois with tan fur and an all-black face. Xena was trained to sniff explosives, but right now she sniffed some action past the group of football players. The door of the briefing room pushed open and out strolled Captain Marcos.
Xena jumped forward, alert. Tara and Rambo followed while Honda half opened an eye. There was going to be some action.
By the time the agile frame of Captain Marcos reached the football players, the game had already ceased, all eyes trained on him. There was still a cloud of brown dust hovering around the Marines’ khaki shorts, tinting the scene in shades of sepia; a herd of stallions panting, their ears attend, nostrils quivering in expectation. One of the Marines had picked up the ball, popping it between his arm and hip. Tara’s tail wagged, recognizing her partner and human handler, Seb. Another Marine slapped Seb’s shoulder in a friendly manner and it was Xena’s turn to snort, recognizing Conde. Dancing on the spot, Tara blew air through her nose and yapped at Honda in the next cage. Rambo spun around, pacing along the fence. Will Kent get a turn at holding the ball? Will he? Only Honda cracked a sleepy eye, her tail sweeping the ground once before rolling over onto her back, snorting. Honda enjoyed action as much any dog, but she also knew that the humans did a lot of talking before any action would begin. Until she would sniff Dunn approaching her cage, Honda couldn’t be bothered.
One of the recent reviews for Silent Heroes on Goodreads
This was a fabulous read. I normally shy away from books that are set in war zones or describe life in the military. However, I also love challenging myself and learning about countries and characters that will teach me how different their lives are to mine. This book is perfect in all aspects!
I admire the author’s beautiful pen, her way of describing Afghanistan, the day to day fear and stress that soldiers have to go through as well as the local population. She offers vivid descriptions of the difficulties in staying alert while also staying human and empathetic towards the communities where the military staff are stationed. The underlying plot that kept the narrative going added to the gripping scenes that flowed off the page.
Another aspect I loved about this book was the friendship between soldiers and their dogs who worked as a team on site. I had no idea just how clever these dogs were, so sensitive and perceptive and their presence seemed to help all of the military staff to feel emotionally stable. The author opened my eyes to a new world that of course I hear about in the news but am never quite able to really understand. I walk away having read a great book and having learned a lot along the way. Throughout the narrative I always felt it was very realistic so have to add that the book was extremely well researched in the details provided about Afghani culture, the political conflict and ensuing devastating recent history. Highly recommended if like me you’d like to know what it’s really like to be stationed as a solider in a war zone.
Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US
And: Amazon UK
A small selection of other books (some in Afrikaans) by Patricia Furstenberg
Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US
And: Amazon UK
Read more reviews and follow Patricia: Goodreads
Patricia Furstenberg is a multi-genre author, poetess and mother. With a medical degree behind her, Patricia is passionate about history, art, dogs and the human mind. “Silent Heroes” is her 13th book and her first contemporary fiction novel. So far Patricia wrote historical fiction, poetry and children’s books. All her books have one common denominator, dogs.
What fuels her is her fascination with words and coffee. She is the author of the bestseller Joyful Trouble and a prolific writer working on her next novel already, a historical fiction. Will it feature a dog as well? Only tme will tell. Patricia lives happily with her husband, children and dogs in sunny South Africa.
Connect to Patricia.
I hope that you have enjoyed this extract from Silent Heroes and will head over to buy the book thanks Sally.
If you are in the Cafe, and would like to participate you can find all the details here: Share an Extract