If you look at my bookshelf… well, you’ll see DVDs, because I don’t keep my books on my bookshelf. If I did keep my books on my bookshelf, and you looked at my bookshelf, you would not see anything remotely resembling Gideon’s War (at its core, an action-thriller novel). You would see fantasy, science-fiction, historical fiction, philosophy, and more in that vein.
That being said, I would be fine with Gideon’s War having a place on my bookshelf. Now, to be fair, Gideon’s War is not exactly high-minded literature. It’s a fairly standard action-thriller, the likes of which you often see on best-seller lists. This is not a bad thing, necessarily; the book is not meant to be Pulitzer material, it is meant to be entertaining, and in that it succeeds.
Gideon’s War focuses on a character named… wait for it… Gideon Davis. One of the world’s foremost peacemakers and pacifists, Gideon Davis is tasked with rescuing his estranged brother from a covert mission. His brother, Tillman Davis, stands in stark juxtaposition to Gideon, as a career fighter for the United States. Much of the story deals, directly or indirectly, with this core difference between the brothers and how it came to be. The back story is slowly unfolded as the main story progresses, with bits and pieces revealed as they become relevant to the current events of the book.
As a first effort, the book is well written. There are some flaws, such as the very early reveal of the twist villain, as well as overly-obvious early signs of other twists and red herrings. While this does take some of the suspense and thrill out of the book (the question of, “Who is trying to kill me?” loses value when you answer it in the first quarter of the novel), it is not a significant enough issue to make the book un-entertaining. There is enough description to set the scene, with enough left to the imagination for the reader to flesh out the world as they wish.
It’s a fairly easy read, requiring little mental concentration, which makes it a great book to just pick up and start on. Again, this is not high-minded literature. This is a book that is meant to entertain with action and adventure, and in that respect, it succeeds in its goal. Howard Gordon, taking his experience as executive producer and show-runner for the TV series, 24, has crafted an interesting story with two brothers at its core that I wouldn’t kick out of bed (the story, not the brothers). Gideon’s War can be purchased from your preferred online or brick-and-mortar retailer for $24.99 or less, depending on how hard you look. It’s a bit on the shorter side, so you may want to keep your eyes open for deals online to pick it up at a lower price.