Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Sherman, M. Zachary. Depth Charge, Damage Control, Emergency Ops, Heart of the Enemy.
January 2012, Capstone
If you are trying to get books to picky, middle school boy readers, just buy this series. Yeah, all eight books are going to set you back almost $150. Or $300, if you buy two sets, because you will need them. On the second day of school, I had an 8th grader make it to the library against all odds (I had scheduled 7th graders that day, and the study hall was so chaotic that they weren't letting students go anywhere) JUST SO he could check out these books because I had seen him at the public library and mentioned that I was ordering them. This is a student who does not read much, but I let him check out all four (our limit is three), because he was afraid he would finish them before he could get back to the library.
Fine. More about the books. They are very short stories, but the brilliant part is that between chapters there is some nonfiction information about the gear, equipment, machinery, historical figures, etc. about the war. And some larger font saying POW from time to time.
Depth Charge is set during WWII and is about Lester Donovan, who has an idea to get code files from a disabled German submarine by killing two Germans and pretending to be them. He gets a WWI era trench lighter from the Englishman he is with. Damage Control follows Lester's nephew (and the lighter) to Korea, where engineer Tony and several others are shot down. They are supposed to wait for rescue but worry that they will be attacked. The attempt to make it to the border, with limited success. Emergency Ops showcases Anne, Tony's daughter, who is a nurse in Vietnam, but finds dealing with so many horrible deaths draining. She does better when on ward duty, but when circumstances demand it, steps up to help out with the wounded at Hamburger Hill. In Heart of the Enemy, we have another Lester (probably Anne's son) who ends up in Iraq, trying to get information from a local war lord and encounters land mines and other dangers while trying to capture a terrorist.
The one thing that bugs me was that this is the same family in the first four books, but I don't know where the characters fall on the family tree.