Trial by Fire Audio Cassette – May 1992
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From Kirkus Reviews
Hypothetical-war specialist Coyle (Bright Star, 1990; Sword Point, 1988) takes his recurring cast of characters to the Mexican border, where a coup d`tat to the south and the usual political bungling to the north make armed conflict inevitable. Thirteen army officers, fed up with decades of corruption and bungling under the ruling Revolutionary Party, have decapitated the Mexican government with one well-placed presidential plane crash. The Council of Thirteen, as they call themselves, speedily and rather brutally set about carving the rot from the Mexican political and governmental structure. The poor and the middle class love the new cleanliness; the druglords and the paid-for police hate it. The US, caught once again without useful intelligence, fails to understand the nature of the revolution and falls victim to manipulation by the druglords, who create chaos with terrorist acts on the border. The only American who seems to have the faintest idea of what's going on is TV reporter Jan Fields, whose good fortune has placed her in Mexico City at the time of the coup. As Fields's reports air, her lover, Lt. Col. Scott Dixon, heads with his troops for southern Texas, unhappily aware that he is about to take part in a war that can bring only pain and embarrassment to his country. Among his troops is Lt. Nancy Kozak, the Army's first female combat officer, who is about to find out what men have long known: war is extremely confusing and thoroughly interesting. Coyle has always been worth reading for his intelligent and authentic portrayals of the military messes we may find ourselves in before long. This time, he has sacrificed a little military detail for the sake of general readability. It's a sensible and worthwhile compromise. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Set in the early 1990s (most works of fiction often reflect the times in which they are created) a short time after the abortive Moscow putsch, Trial by Fire begins with a deadly and successful coup d'etat in Mexico as the military, fed up with the ruling Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) party's corrupt and inept ways, does away with the President and most of the PRI leadership. Motivated -- mostly -- by patriotism, genuine concern for Mexico's countless millions of poor inhabitants, and a desire to kick the country into the approaching 21st Century, the new Council of 13 moves quickly to sweep aside political opposition and the powerful criminal organizations that practically run some of the country's states.
But when Col. Alfredo Guajardo, one of the members of the new military junta, sets his sights on Hector Alaman, aka "El Dueno" (The Manager), a notorious drug baron whose empire has spread across the entire Caribbean, the New Revolution that he has helped to successfully bring about will be jeopardized by the aftershocks of a daring military raid on Alaman's fortified villa/compound at Chinampas. While the Mexican army's heliborne assault is a nominal success and the huge estate is captured, Alaman himself escapes along with a handful of experienced, ruthless and highly paid mercenaries.
Alaman's escape from the raid at Chinampas will soon prove to be more than an embarrasing incident that can be dismissed by the new rulers of Mexico.Read more ›
Part of the story is told from the point of view of a woman who's about to become a commander of her own platon unit. Her experiences and adventures in the book alone make for a very interesting story in itself. Some scenes I enjoyed: one officer can't help but stare at her breast, another one where she needs napkins, and what a well-rested soldier looks like. Kozak's story into the military is a somewhat ideal presentation of the author, and so don't expect a highly realistic exploration of integration of women into the American military. But if the author were more serious, we should see other infantrywomen besides Kozak.
The battle scenes are not as descriptive this time. The first day of war but when you start reading that part, you're already in the middle where US troops suffer huge casualties. The Mexicans are shown as highly motivated and seemingly well-trained for this war. And there's something corny when the troops talk to the main Mexican character, Col. Guajardo. And Mexico seems to be described as a utterly poor country than it actually is. Hey, my Diamond Supra modems are made in Mexico.
It's not directly mentioned, but the story does take place in 1995.Read more ›
The biggest problem I have with this book is two faulty assumptions Coyle makes. First, that America would be so out of touch with what's going on in Mexico that we would be forced to fight another war with them. As critical as Mexico is to the USA, this is unlikely. The second fatal flaw is his assumption that women can be successfully and quickly integrated into combat arms units. From my experiences as a former Army officer, I dont believe they are either physically or psycholgically capable. Also, he shows the integration as going along WAY too smoothly. I think our young lieutenant would face much more serious credibility problems with her troops than shown in this novel.
The actual writing is pretty good. The story is action packed and from my perspective fairly realistic (if you look over the fatal flaws). If this book were classified as Science Fiction or Alternate History, I might give it 4 stars. But it is military fiction. Most military fiction readers (at least the ones I know) like their fiction FIRMLY grounded in reality. This book is out in La La land. Stick with his earlier works and leave this book for the Sci-Fi enthusiasts and radical feminists.
Most recent customer reviews
A good effort from Coyle......
All things considered, Trial by Fire was an enjoyable book. I have read a number of Coyle's novels, some of which featured Lt. Nancy Kozak. Read more
This is a good read for anyone interested in our military, and the service they provide to our country. Read morePublished on Feb. 23 2000 by markus crandall
This book was just as enjoyable to read again as it was the first time. I really enjoyed the book as a whole, but was particularly impressed with the character development of Lt. Read morePublished on Jan. 23 2000 by Bret M. Duff