Book Reviews

Book Review: Silent Heroes, by Patricia Furstenberg

Silent Heroes,

by Patricia Furstenberg

Publication: July 9, 2019

Silent Heroes - Patricia FurstenbergAbout the book:

How far would you go to save strangers in need? A group of Marines and their MWD, Military Working Dogs, are about to find out.

When Talibans descends in the village of Nauzad and discover girls can read, a woman accepts the blame. 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 a military base nearby.

But the Taliban is infiltrated everywhere and friends or foes are hard to differentiate. The Marines fight with bravery to protect the civilians and to fend off the Taliban lurking at the ancient Qala-e-Bost fortress, 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 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.

**My Review**

Have you ever read a fiction novel but felt as if you were reading a true account of events instead? This was my experience while reading Patricia Furstenberg’s Silent Heroes. Having been a fan of her children’s books for years, I was thrilled when she told me about this latest novel and couldn’t wait to see what she had crafted. As always with this author, she did not disappoint. 

Let me begin by saying this is not a light-hearted and easy read. When the opening of a novel involves an execution because a girl has been taught to read, it sets a serious tone. Prepare to feel as if you have traveled to Afghanistan and you are right there with the frightened people in the village of Nauzad or with the marines at FOB Day. Then prepare to experience every emotion possible as you follow the story of the citizens, the U.S. Soldiers, their service dogs, and the Taliban. The storytelling is exquisite and engaging, but also it is quite obvious that an enormous amount of research went into this novel. Although it is fiction, Patricia Furstenberg has created a book that is frighteningly accurate as far as life in Afghanistan, war, and all of those it affects. And while she’s not taking a political stance one way or the other regarding the War in Afghanistan, this story serves as a reminder of why it is, unfortunately, necessary for our servicemen and women (and dogs) to be in these places and experience what they do. 

As an extreme dog lover, I was a bit nervous about this book because of course, because I dreaded the possibility of reading about a dog being killed in the line of duty. Needless to say, I don’t want to think about people being killed in the line of duty either, but that’s something that sets this book apart because it’s about so much more than just humans and canine service members. It’s about the handlers training and bonding with these dogs. It’s about the important role these dogs play in locating IEDs. It’s about the grief of those left behind when lives are lost – both when handlers lose their dogs or when the dogs lose their handlers. Everyone knows how difficult it is to lose a pet and especially the emotional struggles when someone loses an animal that is their partner, whether on the police force or in war. But as the author points out in this novel, the animals also struggle not only from losing their humans but with canine PTSD from the traumas of war. I will admit that a lot of my tears shed while reading this were related to the dogs, I just couldn’t help myself. 

As stated earlier, this isn’t a quick and easy read. Silent Heroes will prompt you to pause and think several times. It serves as a reminder of the ongoing, long-term struggles these people have endured under the Taliban and how lucky many of us are to live our lives as we want. You will feel both pride and sadness as you read about the Marines and the experiences of their teams. But you will also feel joy and hope about the sacrifices that are made for us each day.  Silent Heroes is an incredible novel that I highly recommend. Regardless of your usual preferred genre, this is an excellent read that is realistic, full of well-developed characters, and will stay in your heart and mind long after finishing. 

*Thanks to the author for providing this review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

Purchase Silent Heroes on Amazon!


3 thoughts on “Book Review: Silent Heroes, by Patricia Furstenberg”

  1. Dear Jennifer,
    I adore your review. You captured every facet of my story and made it shine 🙂
    Thank you for spending time with my work, for your amazing support over these past years and I am sorry about those episodes from Silent Heroes that brought tears to your eyes.
    * Hugs*

    Liked by 1 person

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