The Gulf War was the first American war with women in combat command positions, and Captain Karen Emma Walden was one of the best. Yet when her Medevac, a Huey, was shot down over enemy territory, Captain Walden became a casualty, along with one of her men.
Now the Army wants to give Captain Walden a medal—the kind fastened on so many men in wars past, but never before on a woman. And Lieutenant Colonel Nat Serling's investigation into Walden's career could help revive his own. He'd been a rising star in the war, but his command of a raid that accidentally fired on its own men has destroyed confidence in him.
Now he has the chance to show what kind of job he can do with a delicate mission.
Soon Serling discovers that this investigation is far from routine: he finds soldiers wounded more than just physically, stories that don't jibe, mysterious lapses of memory. He must navigate the codes of silence, honor, and loyalty to uncover the truth about the Captain's death—a truth that could destroy Walden's reputation but save Serling's career.
A powder-keg investigation into the actions of the first woman eligible for the Army's Medal of Honor in combat keynotes Duncan's exciting debut. Lt. Col. Nat Serling has been racked with guilt ever since four members of his tank unit died under friendly fire in the Gulf War. Now Nat is assigned the inquiry into another fatal Gulf War incident--one that led to the death of helicopter pilot Cpt. Karen Emma Walden, who is in line for the Medal of Honor. Serling suspects collusion when Walden's crew chief, medic and machine gunner at first supply the same details of the event. But as the three begin to break, their confessions provide vivid, disturbing images of the physical and psychological brutalities of war. Serling, meanwhile, suffers the demons of depressive drinking as he struggles to rebuild his marriage, career and life by assuaging the remorse arising from his own desert storm. Duncan constructs this novel with the slick cinematic skill that has made him a top Hollywood screenwriter (Nick of Time, etc.), and when Serling finally uncovers the truth of what happened both to himself and to Walden, there won't be a dry eye in the house.