I love wilderness survival novels. When I volunteered to read and review a copy of The Way of the Brave by Susan May Warren, I didn’t realize how much of a survival story it was. The further into the book I got, the more hooked I became. Getting trapped on Denali with death, the past, and the weather threatening to undo the characters? Now that’s my kind of book!
Orion Starr grew up in Alaska with Denali as a feature out the windows of his home. His father was a mountain trail guide and Orion was too until he left to become a pararescue jumper (PJ) for the armed forces. Willing to jump from a helicopter in a war zone to rescue Navy SEALS… talk about the epitome of a fascinating character. Willing to face danger, willing to rescue rescuers. However, when one of those missions ended in the death of several soldiers and a devastating injury for Orion, he withdrew from everything that made him a PJ.
Jenny Calhoun was the CIA profiler that vetted the intelligence that sent Orion and the other soldiers into what turned out to be an ambush. Feeling responsible for the deaths and injuries, she also left everything, including the CIA and her budding feelings for Orion, behind. Climbing mountains became her way of assuaging the guilt and hiking the tallest mountain in the United States was a peak she meant to concur. Two of her girl friends agreed to join her and after training for a year, they were ready.
Reaching the peak of Denali was the easy part. Getting down was a whole other story – and the story we find in The Way of the Brave. Will Orion and Jenny be able to save their friends or will more people die on their watch? Will their past open a fissure between them, costing lives? It isn’t until the last page is turned that the answer is known for sure.
I’ve read several books by Susan May Warren and she always chooses the most fascinating occupations for her characters. She also has a way of pulling readers into a story and not letting go. I found the end of The Way of the Brave to have more ‘preaching’ than I expected, however, the ‘preaching’ was primarily done by Ham, Orion’s friend. It fit with his personality to have him ‘preach’ to Orion, so as much as I’m usually not a fan of ‘preachy’ novels, somehow, it made sense here. Plus, Ham has an interesting background story of his own and I can’t wait to see how he balances all the spiritual wisdom he gave to Orion when faced with his own adventure.
Besides the rescue story, the romance, and the fascinating occupations, Susan May Warren is willing to tap into the deep emotions of her characters. You think a character has reached the end of him or herself only to see them pushed further into the emotional depths. Reading as Orion reached that breaking point will bring tears to your eyes, at least it did to mine.
I highly recommend reading The Way of the Brave. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.
I received this book free from Revell in order to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”