Two young U.S. Army officers are trying to do their duty in Iraq playing whack-a-mole with at least seven fanatical insurgent groups in the aftermath of the American invasion. Both officers serve in the Big Red One, the vaunted 1st Infantry Division. First Lieutenant Nathan Petty is stationed close to the flagpole, where he quickly learns that the situation in post-Saddam Hussein Iraq is as confusing to those who wear stars as it is to their men out on the point of the bayonet. The other, First Lieutenant Christian Winn, leads a platoon of Wolfhounds, young soldiers struggling to understand the situation and their place in it as they patrol the mean streets of a Northern Iraqi city infested with tribes, factions, and shooters who just want to kill Americans.
Through their mutual support and experience with the real essence of ground combat—kill or be killed and politics be damned—they lead from the front, desperately trying to help their soldiers stay motivated and alive. The Wolfhounds, like the rest of the American Army, struggle to deal with a growing insurgency and the insurgents’ weapon of choice, improvised explosive devices or IEDs. As the platoon is visiting a school construction project, a sniper’s bullet sends the Wolfhounds on a days-long pursuit.
Placed squarely in the American tradition of war writing such as Kevin Power’s The Yellow Birds and John Renehan’s The Valley, Schmid’s Princes of War takes its protagonists into the real Iraq: Where the enemy is elusive and danger stalks constantly. Human emotions as old as time—ambition, courage, doubt, fear—churn inside each soldier as they search for the sniper. Some men falter, some fail, and some demonstrate extraordinary courage.
“From the authentic dialogue of Soldiers fighting in a forgotten war zone, to a very tightly wound plot that causes the pages to pass furiously and imperceptibly, PRINCES OF WAR is an extraordinary tale that will remain with you, seared in your memory long after you turn the last page.”
— John Fenzel, author of The Sterling Forest