The World Played Chess

Lake Union: Amazon. Sept. 2021. 400p. ISBN 9781542029377. $24.95. F
In 1979 Vincent Bianco, a recent high school graduate, starts a summer job in construction in order to earn money for college. On the job he becomes friends with troubled Vietnam vet William Goodman, a man slowly disintegrating under the weight of horrifying memories. Vincent, an aspiring journalist, starts a diary in which he describes conversations with William, work experiences, and wild escapades with drinking buddies. When summer ends the two men go their separate ways. Then, in 2015, after years with no contact, Vincent receives a journal that William kept in Vietnam in the late 1960s. There, at a firebase outside Da Nang, he served as both a combat photographer and infantryman, facing death daily with fellow marines. Vincent has become a lawyer with a son about to graduate from high school and a 16-year-old daughter. He, too, will soon find that war is not the only place where loved ones die.
VERDICT In this follow-up to The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell, Dugoni again turns away from his legal thrillers to write a riveting story of boys becoming men and the risks they take along the way. Weaving together three timelines with ease, he recreates the horror of war and its effects on the survivors, with a message that will bring many to tears.
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