Written by Anthony Neil Smith – All the Young Warriors is a tale of revenge, redemption, love, loss and personal discovery set in the middle of recruitment for, and fighting in, Somalia. The story ranges over continents and characters while keeping tight control on the narrative and the key characters involved. It manages to deal with the larger issues honestly while not losing the emotional impact the decisions and events have on the people you grow to care for.
The story begins in Minnesota with what should be a simple traffic stop. The situation quickly escalates, giving us the first glimpse of the two very different young men who are embarking on an adventure that isn’t what either of them suspects. Jibriil displays both his commanding nature and violent tendencies as he kills the officers responsible for the two being delayed. We also see Adem’s thoughtfulness and distaste for violence.
This is reinforced in Somalia where it becomes clear that the quest for meaning and truth that Adem began was an illusion. He is greeted by a reality that leaves him only wanting to escape. Jibriil, though, thrives in the chaotic, violent surroundings and rises in esteem and power. Their lives diverge and cross, with Jibriil finally finding a use for Adem’s skills and Adem finding what he believes for a time to be a purpose.
Back in Minnesota, an officer and father of the unborn child of one of those killed by Jibriil, begins a quest for revenge. He finds and is joined by Mustafa, Adem’s father, who seeks the redemption of his son and his safe return. They delve into a world where the warriors are recruited, eventually finding their way to Adem and into more trouble. The tension is high throughout their time together as trust is strained and the costs of a revenge quest grow.
All the Young Warriors is a powerful story that is both riveting and meaningful. There are the familiar themes of the price of vengeance and pride, treated with a skillful hand. There are also more challenging questions posed about the people and events which are left to the reader to ponder. The story is laid out not as a lesson, but as a setting and context to the challenges and changes undergone by the characters. This book is for anyone who loves complex characters that strive for personal goals despite fears and setbacks. An excellent book, and a great buy at £2.99 on Kindle.
CFL Rating: 5 Stars