Publisher: Willowbank Books, San Francisco, Los Angeles, 2011
The twin specters of starvation and genocide stalk the southern Sudan when the tyrannical regime in Khartoum unleashes the Janjaweed, horseback-mounted Baggara tribesmen, on the defenseless Dinka and Nuer tribes. The prize is control of the oil reserves lying beneath tribal lands, and a weary United Nations responds with a half-hearted attempt riddled with corruption to rescue a beleaguered people. The United States sends six aging Air Force C-130 Hercules cargo aircraft and 165 personnel to support the UN peacekeepers and fly relief into the heart of the war-torn land. But age-old hatreds cannot be suppressed and the Janjaweed cause one of the C-130s to crash, killing the crew and commander of the US detachment. The UN peacekeepers are withdrawing when the newly appointed commander of the C-130 unit arrives. His unit’s morale is in the dirt and the situation chaotic. Appalled by the slaughter he witnesses, he becomes a driven man, determined to save the Nuer and Dinka tribesmen. He makes an unlikely ally, the French commander of the peacekeeping force who was born Senegalese. The two men are military anachronisms, throwbacks to an earlier age. But both know how to fight — one in the air, the other on the ground — and fight they will. The situation spins out of control and becomes a battle of personal survival where defeat will result in genocide.