Monday, June 06, 2005

THE RED CADUCEUS by Gerald Strand (Llumina)

Okay, so I'm a day late (or a week) and a dollar short on blogging this wonderful war story on or about Memorial Day. Lately, I'm lucky if remember to shower.

That said, I'll assume you are still in holiday-mode and looking for a good military read.

Imagine it is December 1, 1969 (the day the first military draft took place since back in World War II) and you wait silently/patiently for the delivery of birthdates determining who will and will not be sent overseas to fight for their country. This is the start of Gerald Strand's RED CADUCEUS. (Personal note: I almost discarded this book for fear it was science fiction; foolish me: I never knew the name for that winged staff with the two serpents twined around it, the symbol for the medical profession. I should get out more.)

CADUCEUS takes the reader into a painful/brave journey into Southeast Asia and is dispensed via the split between two friends from that fateful December night. It is an excellent, thought-provoking novel that touches on the inner battles of courage and conviction as well as carefully dealing with the usual drama: the rights and wrongs of war.

This little gem was passed on to me from one of my POD sisters and I admit I was pleasantly surprised. I am fickle when it comes to military fiction; the tendency is to become preachy or bloody, neither of which encourages me to turn pages. Though it may be done here to some extent, it is carefully placed and the book is well-worth the time.