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The Warlord's Son

1 rating: 3.0
A book by Dan Fesperman

Dan Fesperson's captivating third novel,The Warlord's Son, begins cinematically with a dusty sunrise in Peshawar, Pakistan, the clamorous calls of competing muezzins, and the buzz of a scooter. In a classic premise worthy of John Le Carre, an aging American … see full wiki

Tags: Book
Author: Dan Fesperman
Publisher: Vintage
1 review about The Warlord's Son

Friendship and Betrayal in Afghanistan

  • Jan 19, 2009
Dan Fesperman is a veteran journalist. "The Warlord's Son" is his first novel. It tells the story of a veteran journalist, Stanford J. Kelly ("Skelly"), dispatched to Peshawar, Pakistan, after 9/11 in order to cover the U.S. war against the Taliban. In Peshawar, Skelly hires Najeeb, a Pashtun warlord's son who's been banished from his village by his father for a betrayal seven years earlier. When they finally cross the border into Afghanistan, that betrayal comes home to roost, alongside many other betrayals by mujahideen who are still making up their minds whether to side with the U.S. or with the Taliban. There's also a subplot involving Najeeb's relationship with Daliya, his girlfriend who also has secrets to hide.

My first rule for evaluating novels like this is whether it grabs my attention right away and keeps it throughout. Fesperman did a pretty good job of doing this, although at times I found myself skimming through chapters. Also, I didn't like the ending. It's realistic enough, given the premises of the novel, but it also presumed a view of America's involvement in Afghanistan with which I disagree. But don't worry, this isn't a preachy, moralistic novel about American misadventures abroad. It's about friendship and betrayal, reality and appearances.


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