In By What is Sure to Follow, Donald N. Burton pens a striking and provocative tale of one marine’s journey from carefree college student to highly trained jungle killer to PTSD-suffering vet. He moves quickly, draws in the reader, and then blindsides him.
The main character is Luke Simms, a student who isn’t trying hard enough and loses his full time college deferment, resulting in a draft notice. Rather than become fodder for the Army, the athletic Simms decides to enlist in the Marine Corps in order to have some say about where he ends up. Finding a home in the USMC, he excels and earns a spot in their most elite unit, Force Reconnaissance, or Recon. In the jungles of Vietnam, Luke is transformed into “Eyes,” a highly trained and exceptionally lethal team leader. But in finding his niche he may have lost himself, and may also lose his mind in the process.
Combat vets from any conflict will probably find a lot in common with “Eyes,” and will likely relate to a lot of what goes on in the book. The book, at times, is emotionally charged and portrays very well the brotherhood of arms. It is thought-provoking but can be emotionally exhausting at times.
Review by Rob Ballister
Ex-Marine Force Recon Luke Sims is a veteran of two wars: Vietnam and the one inside his head. He's spent the last fourteen years attending self-help group sessions at a local Veterans' Center to help him be normal, to cope with the memories and trauma of his tour of duty. On the outside he seems fine. But looks can deceive and it's not long before Luke goes to war with his incredible skill set against his inner demons and the depth of his pain is at last revealed-with deadly consequences.
Based on actual in-country events of uncommon valor, unbelievable luck and supreme dedication to brethren, By What Is Sure To Follow: A PTSD Odyssey dramatically follows one veteran's path, chronicling unknown exploits into North Vietnam during the early years of the Vietnam War. With stark realism, it reveals the potentially devastating aftereffects of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) on those who go to war and painfully decries the failure of a nation to protect and heal its warriors when they come home broken.