Guard­ing Sav­age

Dave Ed­lund Light Mes­sages Pub­lish­ing (OC­TO­BER) Soft­cover $15.99 (338pp), 978-1-61153-243-2

Foreword Reviews - - Reviews | Adult Fiction - BEN­JAMIN WELTON

Dave Ed­lund’s Guard­ing Sav­age is a near-per­fect in­ter­na­tional thriller that in­cludes ev­ery­thing from a Sino-amer­i­can naval war to the his­tory of Ja­panese atroc­i­ties in World War Ii-era China. At its core is an im­por­tant mes­sage: diplo­macy and peace are al­ways a bet­ter op­tion than con­flict.

Peter Sav­age res­cues a beau­ti­ful Bruneian wo­man from cap­ture, only for her to be snatched soon af­ter by mys­te­ri­ous thugs. Peter and Robert, the wo­man’s body­guard, are on the case. At the same time, two oil ships launch rock­ets at Amer­i­can and Ja­panese naval ves­sels in the South China Sea. The two sto­ries come to­gether as Sav­age and the US gov­ern­ment un­cover a con­spir­acy in­volv­ing Chi­nese na­tion­als, the Sul­tanate of Brunei, and old his­tor­i­cal wounds.

Fast-paced and two-fisted, this no-frills pot­boiler ac­com­plishes all it sets out to do. There is ac­tion on al­most ev­ery page, all while hold­ing the main story lines in the cen­ter. Peter Sav­age is an ev­ery­man through whom ex­plo­sive po­lit­i­cal pos­si­bil­i­ties are ex­plored, es­pe­cially how China rep­re­sents a threat to the Amer­i­can sta­tus quo in East Asia.

The pro­logue, which dis­plays in minia­ture the hor­rific crimes com­mit­ted by the Im­pe­rial Ja­panese Army in Chi­nese cities like Nank­ing and Shang­hai, gets lost and is for­got­ten half­way through the nar­ra­tive. The ma­jor­ity of the novel takes place in the present day, so it is easy to over­look the events of Jan­uary 4, 1938. Still, Ed­lund’s thriller is well stocked with fas­ci­nat­ing char­ac­ters, plot twists, and plenty of in­sight into cur­rent for­eign re­la­tions be­tween the United States, its Asia al­lies, and China.

Guard­ing Sav­age is a novel made for the pre­car­i­ous present, when the threat of a Si­noamer­i­can con­fronta­tion re­mains very real.

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