07 February 2008

Mortal Allies, by Brian Haig

This was an audio book, which I listened to while driving to and fro for a couple of weeks. The book is read by John Rubenstein in a style that I would describe as "wiseass," but it seems suited to the voice of the narrator. The novel is written in first person, and the narrator is Major Drummond, a JAG officer, army lawyer, who has a background in covert operations.

The novel begins with Drummond arriving in Korea at an army base, dressed in cutoffs and a t-shirt, because he's been summarily wrenched from a vacation in Bermuda and flown here to assist in the defense of a Captain charged with murder, necrophilia, committing homosexual acts, and consorting with an enlisted man. The Captain has a civilian attorney, a woman that Drummond remembers less than fondly from law school. He is assigned to be her military assistant.

The story unfolds into a complex montage of issues: gays in the military, military justice, military protocols, modern diplomatic relations with Korea, the conflict with North Korea, the clash of the cultures, and the clash of Drummond's personality with Katherine Carlson, the beautiful but difficult attorney who leads the defense.

This is a mystery, with elements of spy novel, a thriller, and a social commentary. I was surprised to find myself really liking this book, and becoming engrossed in it about half way through. Haig has done a masterful job of plot construction, and has managed to make a statement in a most unconventional way.

I may have to read some more Brian Haig.

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