Daring, dangerous, and dramatic, Into Hell’s Fire is a novel that pushes the boundaries between fact and fiction.
Lucas Martin, a retired agent of the U.S. government, is recalled to duty to assist Washington in deciding its Balkan policy at the beginning of the Siege of Sarajevo. Hired to accumulate accurate intelligence and monitor the crisis as it unfolds, little time passes before he is entrapped in a game of life and death with a sinister Serbian general. Crossing regional borders, flanking battle lines and dodging sniper fire, Lucas uses his wits and experience to meet his Serbian foe head on.
I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the author in exchange for an honest review.
Douglas Cavanaugh’s first novel, Into Hell’s Fire is a fast-paced espionage-meets-action tale set during the civil wars erupting in the Balkans in the 1990s. Leaving the “normal” horrors of war to one side, the former Republic of Yugoslavia was tearing itself apart from the inside. And to help justify it, Serbian authorities turned against the Muslim communities, committing an incredible level of genocide to purge the republic of them.
Having read the blurb for Into Hell’s Fire, I settled in, looking forward to an entertaining espionage escapade. Lucas Martin, an American-Croat is recruited out of retirement to help the US Government to find any intelligence from inside the combat zones that might just force the UN and NATO to take strong military action to end the war. As the story unfolds, it is clear there is more to war the control. War can be very profitable, and certain elements are out for financial gain, so seek to prolong the war, even if they cannot win it.
Cavanaugh sprinkles historic account throughout the book, building up the story of what took place prior to the war. I liked this idea as it gave context to everything, and it was a nice touch to learn about the subject matter as the story unfolded. Into Hell’s Fire throws the reader into the action alongside Lucas Martin, and carries us through the streets of Sarajevo and the Balkan states.
The story starts with Lucas being sent on a reconnaissance exercise: specifically to gather intelligence that would force the United Nations and NATO into taking action to halt the genocide that was growing as a result of the Serbian bombardment of Sarajevo and systematic slaughter of their own citizens. Events conspire against this, leading to an all-out action scenario. While the story was entertaining with a great tempo to it, the one thing in my view that stopped it jumping up to a four star rating is simply the mix of an espionage story and an action book. If blended well the two genres could well work. My issue was the way the book moved from espionage into action, rather than a seamless blend.
All around, Into Hell’s Fire is a brilliant first entry from Douglas Cavanaugh, and I will be looking forward to future books from him.