Why did you choose to write your new novel from the perspective of Conrad, a 26-year-old Marine returning from tours of duty in Ramadi and Haditha?Learn more about the book and author at Roxana Robinson’s website.
Six or seven years ago I read an article about our troops in Iraq – how they were being sent out in unarmored vehicles, and being blown up by IEDs, and receiving traumatic brain injuries as a result. These were often undiagnosed, partly because the military was reluctant to remove troops from combat, and partly because treatment was expensive. I just couldn’t get those three things out of my mind – the unarmored vehicles, the injuries, and the reluctance to treat. It was clear that we weren’t really protecting our troops. This made me wonder about the consequences of this war. So that article was the beginning. It was a new world for me—I’m a Quaker. I hardly even knew anyone who was in the military.
Conrad is a Marine officer who joined up in 2001, while he was a classics major in college. “The classical writers love war, that’s their main subject,” he tells his parents. “Being a soldier was the whole deal, the central experience. Sparta, The Peloponnesian War, the Iliad. Thucydides, Homer, Tacitus.” What was the meaning of ancient Sparta to you as you worked on this book?
My first encounter with the connection between the Marines and the ancient world was in a memoir called....[read on]
The Page 69 Test: Cost.
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