Author: John R. Taylor
Publisher: iBooks (2013)
Binding: Hardcover, 248 pages
November 1972. The North Vietnamese Army plans to kill U.S. POWs. Major Dan Roman and the Grunt Air team have to act fast to save them.
The Caves is an action packed novel set during the last days of the Vietnamese War. In it, John Taylor draws on his own experience to present a richly detailed account of secret combined operations to free U.S. and Laotian POWs. He pulls no punches about the conditions of the prisoners, not the methods of torture employed. He also presents a grim picture of inter-service grudges, as ambition and the lust for revenge override patriotism and simple humanity. At the heart of it all lies Major Dan Roman, the officer in charge of the task force to free all known existing U.S. POWs—and the target of a scheme to derail the operation and shame him.
While the author’s own experience in Vietnam and his later efforts to free American POWs afterwards gives the book an extra edge, and the author's historical note in the book's summary is appreciated. If anything, a longer, seaparte account would not be amiss also. The rescue operations in the book are so vivid one wants to believe they are true. His firm command of military operations and lingo lend additional credence to the story and characters. Yet the human element is not overlooked, as officers have lives and families of their own. Dan’s fiancée and her irrepressible sister add a lighter counterpoint to the novel’s darker tones. The Caves is definitely a book that will hold one’s interest to the end..
Reviewed by: B. N. Peacock (2014)
THE CAVES, the sequel to GRUNT AIR, begins in Washington, where a radio intercept officer decodes a classified message from the head of the North Vietnam office that controls the captured American and Allied Prisoners of War. The message instructed the camp commanders in Laos to be prepared to execute the POWs on command. This sets the massive military machine into action to find a way to save the POWs. Due to very limited time and internal Pentagon turf wars, and the redeployment of US Forces out of Vietnam, the normal Special Operations units could not be used. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was convinced by Brigadier General Herbert to use the unknown Grunt Air unit stationed in the Philippines. The story vividly describes the life and torture of the POWs prior to their scheduled execution date. Major Dan Roman, commander of Grunt Air, gets the assignment and launches a very unique and imaginative operation plan to get the prisoners out of Laos before they are killed. Time was running out for the prisoners and Roman knew it. John R. "Rick" Taylor (OUTLAW 3) is a decorated Vietnam veteran that served in the U.S. Army for ten years. He had overseas assignments in Vietnam, Korea and Germany. His duty assignments included aviation, military intelligence and air defense. His first-hand military experience gives him the background needed to write THE CAVES. Today he is an oil and gas executive who has returned to post-war Vietnam to engage in petroleum exploration operations in the Mekong Delta. He has met with many former North Vietnamese combat leaders, including the legendary military architect of the war, General Nguyen Vo Giap. In the early and mid-80's Rick was an activist for the return and full accountability of POWs and MIAs in the Vietnam War. His job has taken him to central Russia, Chechnya, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Bosnia. He was principal in the early post-war Bosnia war damage assessment and reconstruction planning efforts. Taylor still enjoys his love of flying, as well as sailing and racquetball. He started flying at age 13 and later became an Army Aviator and flew combat missions in Vietnam and Laos. He currently lives in Texas. Rick is the author of A FEW BRAVE MEN and GRUNT AIR.