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Time and Chance: and selected short stories (Paperback)

Time and Chance: and selected short stories By Alexander Hopkins Cover Image
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Prior to 9/11, John Moses is a rising star on a steady path to a conventionally successful future. He graduates from West Point, marries his high school sweetheart, and now serves as a captain in the Army Special Forces. Fighting the war on terrorism, Moses excels in guerrilla combat, establishing himself as a lethal military weapon. Despite his elite training, the traumatic impact of extensive combat in Afghanistan and Iraq causes his superiors to pull him off the front line and send him home, but the war continues to rage inside him. Instead of returning to his wife, Moses drifts through Europe as he struggles to decide whether to maintain the veneer of a good soldier or simply to let himself go. Attracted to other lost souls, he meets some backpackers who introduce him to Amsterdam's Red Light District. There Moses falls for a troubled prostitute and becomes entangled in the underbelly of Dutch society. Once immersed in this lifestyle, it becomes harder for him to contemplate returning to his old life. However, he can't refuse a secret request to help his country. Despite attempts to run from his past, Moses is still surrounded by death and intrigue. Above all, he is bound by the credo "Duty, Honor, Country." A young soldier journeys from combat in Iraq to the fleshpots of Amsterdam in this heartfelt bildungsroman. When a raid in the Iraqi desert goes awry, Special Forces Captain John Moses is relieved of command. Back in Europe, he goes AWOL and heads to Amsterdam. Cutting loose from army discipline and his wife back in the States, John plunges into a milieu of marijuana bars, strip clubs and casual sex with student backpackers. Inevitably, he gravitates toward the city's red light district, where he hires and then falls in love with tragic shop-window whore Hannah. Then he's contacted by a shadowy American agent, who convinces John to take a job as a brothel guard and drug courier to Hannah's pimp, Josh, in order to investigate a Dutch terrorist cell. John tries to apply the moral rigidities of duty and honor to the baffling emotional complexities of love. Throughout, he wallows in the atmospherics of Dutch and Parisian streetscapes, which the author adeptly juxtaposes with decidedly unglamorous depictions of the realities of Amsterdam's sexual demimonde. Hopkins, a veteran and lawyer, has trouble integrating John's battlefield flashbacks into the story arc, but the intermittent covert-ops procedural of the main narrative is mostly handled in a spare and convincing style. Appended are two poignant short stories, about a boy confronting his divorced mother's suicide attempt and a man coping with his father's impending death. Despite occasional patches of clumsy writing, Hopkins invests this hybrid thriller/love story with palpable psychological resonance. -Kirkus Discoveries.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780595310364
ISBN-10: 0595310362
Publisher: iUniverse
Publication Date: August 5th, 2004
Pages: 284
Language: English