I re-read most of Tooth and Nail over Memorial Day weekend. Oddly enough, aside from Black Hawk Down or Band of Brothers (or many more great military non-fiction reads), I couldn’t think of a more appropriate book to read. You’ll find out why in the review below. I read this book in pieces earlier this year, mainly trying to fit in time to read a compelling story between writing my third novel. I don’t get much personal reading done while deeply engaged in a project.
I was motivated to re-read Craig DiLouie‘s story following an announcement he made regarding the re-release of a pandemic story he had self-published prior to writing Tooth and Nail. I’m really glad I did, because I got so much more out of the story reading it in a few days. Simply an incredible story…reader discretion advised.
“Tooth and Nail is one of the most immersive experiences you can find as a fan of apocalyptic fiction. As a former military officer, I can attest to complexity and uncertainty of the difficult decisions faced by second lieutenant Todd Bowman and his men, as they encountered an increasingly deadly and nebulous viral threat on the streets of Manhattan. The buildup of tension, confusion and violence was expertly drawn from start to finish. Each soldier’s role in the story is examined and expanded through gritty action, well constructed conversation and personal narrative introspection. Although DiLouie’s story leans heavily on brutal action, which becomes a necessary way of life for the platoon, he takes the time to explore the bonds that strengthen this small community of warriors as they try to carry out their orders and makes sense of the madness that has descended on the world. This is one of the most realistic fictional representations of platoon interaction that I have read in this genre.
Beyond military realism is a well developed scientific scenario that gives you a break from the intense military action. I recently saw that the author re-released one of his previous works, called The Thin White Line, which is a research based, fictional account of an avian flu pandemic. I was not surprised to find out that he had started working on Tooth and Nail soon after publishing this work. The exhaustive research in The Thin White Line played out beautifully in Tooth and Nail, adding yet another layer of realism. This aspect is delivered in the form of a parallel, yet crucial side story about several virologists trapped nearby in a secure research facility. I appreciated the dichotomy of these two worlds: [Brute strength, flexible/quick decisionmaking and firepower] Vs. [Scholarly intellect, detailed research and organized thought] AGAINST the same enemy. Watching the two merge in this story is a bonus.
DiLouie’s story has been called Black Hawk Down meets 28 Days Later. I agree, but would add elements of Zulu Dawn and 300 Spartans to that list. What starts out as a relatively simple operations for 2LT Bowman’s platoon turns into an epic battle for survival, with more than just his platoon’s fate at stake.”