Along the Watchtower
What happens when a wounded Iraq war vet must recuperate, mind and body, after an IED attack while trying to live out two parallel versions of his life, one real and the other a realm of fantasy? This question is explored in David Litwack’s Along the Watchtower, a novel that straddles the real and imagined while unraveling an emotional personal story of two strangers thrust together by fate.
The story opens with Freddie Williams, a lieutenant that has been injured physically and mentally after an IED explosion. Once stateside, he is taken to a VA hospital, where he must face months of recuperation. While in a medically induced coma, and also in his dreams, Freddie becomes Prince Frederick of Stormwind, a realm fabricated loosely around that of World of Warcraft (since Freddie is an avid gamer and huge fan of Warcraft). The fantasy plot is quickly fleshed out and the reader soon finds out that in this fantasy realm, Frederick must complete four trials to save the very kingdom in which he lives. Events and characters are paralleled in both realities; for instance, Freddie’s physical therapist, whom he quickly falls for, exists in the fantasy realm as the gardener Rebecca. This is the case with many of the characters in the novel.
Ironically, the real-life setting is far more compelling than the fantasy setting, thus making the fantasy realm seem a bit superfluous in the grand scheme of things. It feels a little underdeveloped and the end of the trials seems rather anticlimactic considering the buildup during the entire novel. However, if one looks at this not as a science fiction novel but as a heartwarming story of one man’s journey to rediscover himself and find love along the way, then it is an excellent read. Things move rather fast in the novel and the plot can seem a bit spelled out at times, but it still remains compelling enough to follow through to the end. Litwack does a fantastic job of developing a realistic relationship between two people brought together through shared love and pain, and creates a memorable story of one man’s journey to rediscover happiness and face the demons form his past. All in all, it was an enjoyable read.
|Double Dragon Publishing
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