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Field of Valor


Field of Valor

If by chance you have recently picked up a novel advertised as a “thriller,” only to set it down in disappointment a third of the way through, let me recommend FIELD OF VALOR to you. Author Matthew Betley has earned the right to talk the talk because he has walked the walk, having spent 10 years as a Marine officer in deployments in Djibouti and Iraq. Some of this background informs the narrative directly, in particular during a flashback vignette. But in general, the book is shot through --- literally --- with Betley’s world vision, paid for with dear coin earned through experience.

FIELD OF VALOR is the third in Betley’s series of thrillers featuring Logan West. Those who are familiar with OVERWATCH and OATH OF HONOR, the first two installments, need no further introduction. However, for the uninitiated, let me briefly state that Logan, a marine voluntarily separated from active service, is the tip of the spear known as Ares, a black-ops task force commissioned by the President and assigned to take down a large, multiple-tentacled group known as the Organization.

"What we have here is non-stop action.... Strongly recommended, especially for those who prefer to read their fiction without blinders."

Started by a billionaire, known as the Founder, with a troubled past and the best of intentions, the Organization --- as a result of its independent and complicated structure --- has slipped loose from his control and is now orchestrating multiple false flag attacks against the United States with the intent of creating instability between the US and China. Betley is aware that the Organization’s membership runs deep into the US government; what he doesn’t know is how high it truly goes.

So it is that FIELD OF VALOR opens with the members of Ares under attack from...well, you’re just going to have to read the first few pages because I am not going to spoil it for you. Know that the story kicks off with a vignette taking place about 48 hours after the book actually begins --- call it a flash-forward --- and that it sets the tone for all that follows while taking over half of the novel to wondrously catch up with itself. It is full of car chases, ambushes, explosions, hand-to-hand combat, double-crosses, and a trail of dead bodies, most of them (though not all) belonging to the bad guys, who are being dispatched by Logan, his loyal and reliable second-in-command John Quick, and an additional assortment of memorable characters with the right stuff and attitude.

Logan is not one to trouble himself with political correctness, given that he functions in the real and immediate world, and the result is a refreshing change from what is all too often foisted upon the public as entertainment. This is not to say that things go smoothly for Ares in general or Logan in particular. While the book is complete in itself, there is a bit of mopping up left to do by the time the story concludes, and your favorite character may not make it to the final pages, as in real life. Once you begin reading, however, you will set all else aside to reach the end.

What we have here is non-stop action. The series has been optioned for video and is a natural for cross-marketing between the books and the digital. If you have seen “Strike Back,” the addictive Cinemax series, or the beautifully realized John Woo movie franchise, you’ll get a hint of what FIELD OF VALOR is like. Strongly recommended, especially for those who prefer to read their fiction without blinders.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on May 25, 2018

Field of Valor
by Matthew Betley

  • Publication Date: June 25, 2019
  • Genres: Adventure, Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books
  • ISBN-10: 1501163205
  • ISBN-13: 9781501163203