By George Ebey
For most military aviators, an encounter with the enemy usually happens in the form of lights streaming up from the earth. It has an air of unreality about it, almost like a video game. If those lights don’t hit you, they don’t hurt you.
But what if you had an airplane blown out from under you and you met the enemy on his terms, in his territory? What would you face on the ground? What would your buddies need you to do? Under conditions of extreme duress and hardship, would you make decisions you could live with later on?
In his new thriller, The Mullah’s Storm, author Thomas W. Young takes readers on a journey through this very real and frightening scenario.
Mr. Young is an eighteen year veteran of the military, serving most of his career as a C-130 flight engineer, first with the Maryland Air National Guard, and then with the West Virginia Air National Guard. He currently flies with West Virginia as a Senior Master Sergeant and serves as an instructor flight engineer on the C-5 Galaxy. Though it draws from his extensive military career, readers need not have a military background in order to enjoy this book. As Mr. Young puts it, “Practically everybody has had a dream about being chased and not being about to move fast enough. That’s something that strikes a chord for all of us on a primal level. Our most fundamental instinct is the fight-or-flight impulse, the will to live.”
As a civilian, Mr. Young spent ten years as a writer and editor with the broadcast division of the Associated Press. He holds B.A. and M.A. degrees in Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His nonfiction publications include The Speed of Heat: An Airlift Wing at War in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as his narrative “Night Flight to Baghdad” which appeared in the Random House anthology, Operation Homecoming: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Home Front in the Worlds of U.S. Troops and Their Families.
The Mullah’s Storm is his first work of fiction, though it is sure not to be his last. Kirkus Reviews calls it, “A smart, unsettling, timely novel that puts a human face on the Afghanistan conflict while conveying the immense challenges the United States faces there.” Publishers Weekly says, “Young draws on his own war experiences for verisimilitude, which, along with believable characters and an exciting plot, makes this one of the better thrillers to come out of the Afghan theater.”
Those looking for more to come will not be disappointed. Mr. Young promises that, “Some of the characters in The Mullah’s Storm still have time left on their enlistments.”
Either way, it’s good to know they’re out there, the fictional heroes as well as the real life servicemen and women who inspired them.