A Former Green Beret. His War dog.
On the greatest mission of their lives.
And probably their last.
A year ago in Afghanistan, Green Beret Heath Daniel’s career was destroyed. Along with his faith. Now he and his military war dog, Trinity train other dogs and their handlers through the A Breed Apart organisation. The job works. But his passion is to be back in the field. The medical discharge says it can’t happen due to the traumatic brain injury that forced Heath to the sidelines.
Until. . .
Military intelligence officer Darci Kintz is captured and the geological survey team she’s covertly embedded with is slaughtered while secretly tracking the Taliban. It’s clear only one dog can handle the extreme conditions to save her. Trinity. Only one man can handle Trinity. And time is running out on the greatest—and most dangerous—mission of their lives.
This is the first in the A Breed Apart trilogy by Ronie Kendig and the second book of hers I have read, the first being the novella, Whole Pieces, that was part of the 7 Hours Series.
I have read other novels from Christian authors about military special ops but this one is unique having the addition of the military war dogs (MWDs) and the story being centred around the role and function of MWDs.
Kendig does this very well. I loved how she described the relationship between Heath, her Handler, as he is called in the military, and Trinity. I have three dogs of my own and I can relate to this very well, but in the relationship described in this novel, it is taken to another level. There is discipline far more complex than in a domestic relationship. There is strict boundaries. The training the Handler and the MWD undergo is strict and intense. The Handler has to know his MWD extremely well and the MWD has to understand her Handler just as well. No margin for error or misunderstanding.
Kendig definitely uses her experience growing up in the military and being married to a veteran to full advantage, as evidenced is the construction of the plot, use of military terms, relationship between the military hierarchy and even the political/military relationship between Afghanistan, China and the US.
As in other military novels, and also in real life, there is plenty of action, suspense, deceit, betrayal of people and countries, abuse of power and one side of the military who need to, and seek to, right all the wrongs. Here, a military undercover agent, Darci, is captured by the Chinese while in Afghanistan and the US Green Berets are sent to rescue her. Darci just happens to have met Heath at the US Afghanistan military base who is there as part of the A Breed Apart program to offer encouragement and support to the military personnel at the Base.
Kendig has incorporated into the characters, namely Darci and Heath, seeds of doubt about their faith, Heath in sustaining a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) from a failed mission that has ended his military career and Darci, living on the faith of her deceased mother. In the hostage/recovery situation her faith is tested and she is confronted with having to submit to God and His Sovereignty while Heath has to learn to rely on God and not on his own strength and to accept God's will for him and not his own since his TBI. Intermingled in all this is the growing love between the two of them. Kendig is very good at showing the flaws in their faith and this leading to a greater dependence on God and putting the other above themselves.
Heath is called upon to join the rescue team using his MWD, Trinity, to seek where Darci is being held hostage. He encounters mixed feelings of inadequacy in being part of this team with his TBI and that he feels the others don't accept him because of it. However, the expertise that is delivered by him and Trinity as a team plays a pivotal role in the success of this mission. It is this that adds another level of suspense and tension that keeps the reader coming back for more. The reader wants Heath to be successful; to prove to himself that he still has worth and a role in the military and to prove his comrades wrong about his abilities and role.
The only struggle I had with this book and the Whole Pieces novella is the writing style. Some of the dialogue to me does not flow well. Not sure if that is just me or the author. I will get used to this I am sure in subsequent novels. I just felt that sometimes I had to go back a few lines or paragraphs to get acquainted again with what the dialogue and situation is about.
I found it easy with the Kindle Paperwhite 2nd generation to bookmark the Glossary pages and when you access these pages they would appear in a smaller box on the page you are reading, so you would not have to lose your page to access this like you did with the previous generation reader. That really helped when you were getting used to the military terminology.
I do look forward to the next book, Talon. This is a very good series.