Review: Sons of War by Nicholas Sansbury Smith

Official Thrillerfix Review

Review by Gavin Reese

14 April 2020

Much like Mario Puzo’s classic, THE GODFATHER, Nicholas Sansbury Smith has created an elaborate and timely lens for us to examine family bonds. SONS OF WAR brings us into an entirely plausible, near-future dystopia to shine a light on sons thrust into circumstances of their father’s making.

Following the worst economic meltdown in history, American military personnel have been recalled from posts all around the globe to combat domestic civil unrest. Marine Sergeant Ronaldo Salvatore’s platoon returns to a powder keg that threatens to ignite a civil war. He’s initially stationed away from his family and his son, who’s just joined the police force in Los Angeles.

While some see the coming collapse as the end, others see opportunity. Don Antonio Moretti and his family fled Naples eight years ago and narrowly escaped an ambush set by rival organized crime lords. He’s since rebuilt his illicit empire in LA but still dreams of his former glory. The cost of his ongoing battle for turf, money, and a glorious return to Naples will demand he pay for his ambitions by sacrificing his own soldiers and spilling the blood of innocents. Moretti will stop at nothing to defend his own.

When open warfare erupts across the US, Sergeant Salvatore fights his way back to LA while his son fights to stop the city’s increasingly violent spiral into anarchy. Family is everything, but how far will these two families go to protect their own in a new economy where violence is the greatest and most powerful currency?

Established fans of New York Times bestseller Nicholas Sansbury Smith will rejoice at this latest effort, and new readers should introduce themselves to Smith’s work.

Although written well before the covid-19 events that have isolated all of us in our homes, depleted our economy, and burdened our future generations with tremendous debt, SONS OF WAR presents us with a world easily imagined springing forth from our own.

Smith formerly worked in Emergency Management and specialized in disaster planning and mitigation, and his knowledge on the topic and attention to detail shine through in his writing. Despite the authenticity of those aspects of his novel, the story remains focused on his characters, their reactions to the world into which he’s thrust them, and working through their own moral quandaries after the lives they knew are lost forever. 

This work introduced me to Smith and his writing, and I’m already looking forward to the next installment in this series. This novel’s focus on family and relationships separates its story and pacing from much of the thriller genre and allows the reader to consider their own potential conduct while witnessing the characters’ choices and actions.  SONS OF WAR is a timely read well worth your time.

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THRILLERFIX ALL-STAR REVIEWER: A former law enforcement officer, Gavin Reese wrote his first six crime thrillers between patrol shifts. An author, thriller aficionado, and podcast host, Gavin has interviewed some of the top names in the genre. If you enjoy novels with authentic cops, crimes, and criminals, you'll want to follow Gavin Reese's book recommendations here on the Thrillerfix blog.

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