So, I finally got around to my friend Steven Hildreth’s first novel, The First Bayonet. I’ve got to say, it’s a good read. Not as kinetic as some of them out there, but it’s tense, well-researched, and the fights that are in it are pretty well done.
Ben Williams is former Delta turned contractor, who gets a contract to extract a dissident from an Egyptian prison. The book is set in 2006, before the recent revolution and ensuing unrest in Egypt, so the antagonists are part of Mubarak’s security apparatus. Hildreth doesn’t shy away from the Egyptian military’s human rights record, and though the Muslim Brotherhood doesn’t make an appearance, it illustrates a good deal of why so many students rose up in 2012.
Williams infiltrates the prison, where we get to see some of the more egregious brutality of the Egyptian authorities. As Williams plans and executes his breakout, Egyptian security types start to die, and the book turns into a personal contest between Williams and the Egyptian officer who is hunting him.
There’s a lot of good stuff in this book, and Hildreth’s definitely a promising author. What cons there are are nitpicks, nothing more. Overall, a solid first effort, and I’m expecting some good stuff to come from Steven in the future.
You can buy the book here.