Thursday, June 06, 2013

Book Review: Running With the Enemy by Lloyd Lofthouse

Running With the Enemy
by Lloyd Lofthouse
Publisher: Three Clover Press (February 1, 2013)
384 Pages

Running With the Enemy is a gut-wrenching page-turner at once a historical rendering of the Vietnam-American war, a suspense-thriller involving the framing of an innocent man forced to go on the run, and a passionate love story.  As an historical novel, it renders an intricate tapestry of the era, the geography, and the several cultures in confrontation at that time. As a suspense-thriller it grips on page one and keeps your heart racing page after page with hardly a paragraph of relief. As a war story, it depicts war as the bloody, hell that it is--a place in which the mettle of the honorable is tested and honed in the same landscape where sociopaths thrive and reach the heights of power and influence.   As a love story, it portrays the way a bond between two hearts can transcend race, religion, politics, national identity and family loyalty, defying all convention, tradition, prejudice and law to claim their right to have each other.

The characters are all deftly drawn and believable and if they exist beyond a page or two they will leave their mark on the reader who has come to care about them whether it is to love them, admire them, hate them or simply be amused by them.  There is so much fine detail included it is not hard to believe that much of it was gained as first-hand eyewitness and not just meticulous combing of texts, archives or interviews of eyewitnesses.  Thus it is no surprise to learn the author was himself there in that time and place.

This story has very mature content and themes and is not for the young.  Anyone easily disturbed by brutal and/or sadistic behavior should think twice.  And those with high blood-pressure should be sure to read while there meds are at high tide not low--as I can attest.  With these caveats I can wholeheartedly recommend Running With the Enemy as a story that rewards the time and effort invested. Its impact will linger long after the last page is turned.

Update June 10:  Just today learned that this book won honorable mention general fiction at the 2013 New York Book Festival!  and if that's not enough good news in one day for an author, it was also awarded Runner Up in General Fiction at the 2013 Beach Book Festival

Let me say, well deserved and congratulations Lloyd!

From the Publishers:

In this suspense thriller set during the Vietnam War, Victor Ortega is a rogue CIA agent, and he needs someone to blame for his crimes. Recon Marine Ethan Card is the perfect patsy. As a teen, Ethan ran with a Chicago street gang, and he has a criminal record. He also has a secret lover, Tuyen, who is half Vietnamese and half French.
Tuyen is a stunning, beautiful Viet Cong resistance fighter.
Since she was a young child, Tuyen has lived under the control of her brutal, older, sexually abusive half-brother, Giap, a ruthless and powerful Viet Cong leader, who has forced her to kill Americans in battle or die if she refuses.
When Ethan discovers he is going to be court marshaled for weapons he did not sell to the Viet Cong and Tuyen will be arrested and end up in an infamous South Vietnamese prison, where she will be tortured and raped, he hijacks a U.S. Army helicopter and flees with Tuyen across Southeast Asia while struggling to prove his innocence.
Victor Ortega and Giap—working together with the support of an unwitting American general—will stop at nothing to catch the two, and the hunt is on.
The star-crossed lovers travel across Laos to Cambodia’s Angkor Wat; to Bangkok, Thailand, and then to Burma’s Golden Triangle where Ethan and Tuyen face a ruthless drug lord and his gang.
In the rainforests of Burma, Ethan also discovers Ortega and Giap have set in motion a massive assault on his Marine unit’s remote base in South Vietnam with the goal of killing the man he admires most, Colonel Edward Price, who is the only one who believes Ethan is innocent.
Ethan must risk everything to save Price and his fellow Marines. Will he succeed?

Read Chapter One.

What they are saying:

Praise for The Concubine Saga Lloyd Lofthouse’s previous book):

“One of the best-researched books I have ever read–at least, in regard to historical fiction. I can guarantee you that the time you invest in reading this unbelievable book is worthwhile.  There was honestly never a dull moment in this book.  
The detail in this book is fascinating. I appreciated the non-judgmental attitude with which the author wrote. I would have struggled to remain objective, but it is clear that the author wrote with objectivity and with heart–a rare combination. This is a book I would recommend to lovers of historical fiction”- Ruth Hill, My Devotional Thoughts
“Told in descriptive detail and such beauty of the Chinese culture that I did not want it the story to end. A very well written and impeccably researched story that I highly recommend to the historical fiction fan. A lot of history but not written like a history book. This book does have a lot of sexual content in it but told in a very tasteful way. I really enjoyed this book.”- Kathleen Kelly, Celtic Lady
“I really enjoyed reading about the internal struggles Robert had with his new found life in China versus his upbringing in Ireland. The conflict of religion, customs and attitudes was so real and heartfelt that I completely understood his position and thinking throughout the book.
Robert’s concubine Ayaou is extremely well written. This book is a great read for anyone traveling to China, anyone studying Chinese and/or Chinese History or just loves Historical Novels”.- Alysia, My Little Pocketbook
“ This book is not just history. Intrigue, violence, and romance fill the pages of The Concubine Saga. It is difficult for a reader to be bored, even if there is not constant physical action, the book itself is fast-paced.
This book could be enjoyed by most people. Although historical, Lofthouse wrote The Concubine Saga for all readers. Anyone interested in history would love this book.  This book is more entertaining and informative than most any history lesson. Historically accurate and interesting, this book earns five out of five stars.”-Krystal, Live To Read 
“The Concubine Saga by Lloyd Lofthouse is the perfect blend of when fact meets fiction. When this novel first came to my attention, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read it. I am glad that I did decide to give it a try or I would have missed out on a very entertaining book.
This book really has two story lines. The first is Robert’s political career and the second is the love story between Ayaou and Robert. Both story lines mesh together to create a captivating story.
The character development of both Robert and Ayaou is very strong. The Concubine is an epic saga about the trials and tribulations that took place during the Opium Wars. The characters are strong and inspirational and will move you. There is action, adventure, romance, heartache, and loss. This is definitely considered a To Read.”-Marcie Turner, To Read or Not To Read
“Mr. Lofthouse is a brilliant author who makes China come alive to the reader. I was simply swept away through the eyes of Robert Hart as he experienced all the nuances of China and its people and customs for the first time.
The romance of Robert and Ayaou is gorgeously written in all aspects. Just a beautiful rendering of an epic love story.
I found myself wanting to carry this book around with me to sneak another page of reading in wherever I could…it’s that engaging.
Lofthouse has a firm grasp on characterization. His studies of people, relationships and their actions and reactions are so in perfect pitch that there can be no question they existed. They feel alive. I fell in love with several of them. It was difficult when the novel ended.
This is a book for those who love reading about the Orient, but it’s also for those who simply love a good historical fiction novel. It’s lush in details of Chinese culture. It’s a wonderful read. Like the beautifully stitched quilt on the book’s cover, this novel is delicately woven and created using choice selections of all sorts. It will keep you wanting more from the author…not wanting the book to end.”- Deborah, The Bookish Dame

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam veteran, served in Vietnam as a field radio operator in 1966. Back home, Lloyd was a heavy drinker until 1981, never talked about the war and suffered from PTSD. In the early 1980s, he confronted his demons by writing about his war experiences in an MFA program.

Running with the Enemy started as a memoir and then evolved into fiction.

His short story, A Night at the “Well of Purity”, named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards, was based on an event Lloyd experienced in Vietnam.

His novel My Splendid Concubine has earned ten honorable mentions in general fiction—a few examples: the 2008 London Book Festival; 2009 San Francisco Book Festival; 2009 Los Angeles Book Festival, and the 2012 New York Book Festival, etc.

In 1999, his wife, Anchee Min, the author of the memoir Red Azalea, a book that was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year in 1994, introduced Lloyd to Robert Hart, the real-life character of My Splendid Concubine.

After an honorable discharge from the U.S. Marines in 1968, Lloyd went to college on the GI Bill to earn a BA in journalism, and then worked days as a public school teacher for thirty years (1975 – 2005) in addition to nights and weekends as a maĆ®tre d’ in a Southern California nightclub called the Red Onion (1980-1982).

Loyd’s Website: http://lloydlofthouse.org/

Lloyd on Twitter: https://twitter.com/lflwriter
Lloyd of Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lloyd.lofthouse

Follow the blog tour for more reviews, giveaways, author interviews and guest posts: 

http://www.virtualauthorbooktours.com/

3 tell me a story:

Teddy Rose 6/06/2013 12:37 PM  

Thanks for taking part in the tour. I'm glad you enjoyed the book so much!

Lloyd Lofthouse 6/06/2013 4:22 PM  

Wow, thank you for the review. For an author, that was powerful medicine or should I say nectar.

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