The Deserter
by P.J.Gonzales

"Casey was bathed in blood and was down; he was yelling orders that were in vain."

This is a tale of war told in the grand tradition. It is an account of an individual ripped from the bosom of his family and spirited away to servitude, imprisonment, escape, evasion, and unparalleled suffering. The principal character’s unending struggle not only for survival but also for a return to his loved ones, will surely put readers in mind of Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago. While similar to that epic in aspiration, this tome however falls short of that classic’s literary accomplishment.

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, they also attacked the Philippine Islands, where this story takes place. A young bridegroom, Dominador, is separated from his wife on his wedding day as war breaks out. He is summarily seconded to a Philippine fighting force attempting to repel the brutish invaders. Wounded, captured, and mistaken for an officer of higher rank, he is hellishly tortured by the enemy and thrown into a prison camp. Eventually, a daring escape is pulled off and the young man winds up leading a band of POWs and convicts in guerilla warfare against the occupying forces. For three years, Dominador faces unbearable hardships as he leads freedom fighters in battle while trying to make his way home to the bride he left behind.

While the author weaves a complex tale that is detailed, credible, and occasionally riveting, it is unfortunately burdened with ongoing syntax and grammatical shortcomings that can slow readership to a crawl. However, if one is willing to overcome this hurdle, he will find a story of honor, heroism, and love, both mythic and monumental.

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