Jack’s Chase: Ten thousand miles from home
Ten Thousand Miles From Home is the first book of the Jack’s Chase series. It tells the tale of young aspiring journalist Jack O’Sullivan, who is drawn to the action and drama of the Vietnam war like a magnet. Determined to make his mark in the world as an award winning war correspondent, he hounds his editor and anyone else who matters until they finally give in and send him ten thousand miles to the other side of the earth into a world of bombs and bullets, a world of fear and confusion. He enters into a frustrating struggle and finds that the Vietnam conflict (like most wars) is not just man against man, but also man against the elements of nature and his own personal state of mind. He learns that the things his WW2 veteran father tried to warn him about war, are more mind-damaging that he could possibly imagine. Told first hand, this is Jack’s story of the end of his innocent youth and his difficult initiation into the life of a man in war. Along the way he not only discovers friendships found and lost, but has to learn to survive amongst the harsh and unforgiving environment and also finds himself embroiled in an ever-deepening mystery surrounding one of the best soldiers in the platoon, Sergeant Ben Cale. What starts out as the prospect of a great story, becomes a situation which captures Jack’s full determination to get to the bottom of; the involvement of elements of high level secrecy only strengthens his resolve to pursue the story to the end. With the help of his camera-man and good friend Wesley Banks, he manages to uncover some of the aspects of the man’s personality, but while attempting to bring light to the shadows of his hidden past they manage to attract some unwanted attention. Striving to balance the art of good journalism without over-stepping the official boundaries and trying to stay sane and alive while out in the jungle with the platoon gives Jack a constantly changing mix of satisfaction, frustration and of course, at times, total mental stress. The final part of the story sees the men of 108 Platoon caught up in a battle which becomes a week long struggle of life and death. Every ounce of Jack’s courage, stamina and strength of mind is called upon to not give up, even when his comrades are falling around him and it seems like all hope is lost. He marvels at the combat skills of the men and their ability to keep fighting for survival in a world he can only liken to hell, a world he just wants to get away from now that he knows it at its worst. Towards the end of this epic odyssey, Jack learns some unusual information which gives him an important key to the possibility of unlocking the mystery that is Ben Cale, however he is left wondering what it is that he might uncover and how it may affect his life afterwards. The story of Jack O’Sullivan includes his own observations on not only the reality of war, but also the human elements of the people caught up within it. The mystery surrounding Ben Cale adds a level of intrigue to the tale which will keep the reader hungry for more.
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I'll be honest......I'm normally not a fan of 'war' stories - so I was hesitant with this one at first......but Jack's Chase is more than just another war story. Mystery surrounds one of the most prominent characters, Sergeant Ben Cale, a man whose leadership, determination and courage inspire those around him. Jack, the Washington Tribune reporter sent to Vietnam to cover the war, learns that there's more to the war than guns, fighting and casualties. Each man has his story - and Ben Cale's story sends him on an investigative path well beyond the battleground.
A fantastic read - can't wait for the second book!