From the bestselling author of The White Donkey, a heartbreaking and visceral graphic novel set against the stark beauty of Afghanistan's mountain villages that examines prejudice and the military remnants of colonialism.
In this hotly anticipatednew work from Maximilian Uriarte, creator of the popular Terminal Lance comics and The White Donkey, tells a "thrillingly cinematic" (Publishers Weekly) story of the personal cost of war and the power of human connection.
Lapis Lazuli is a rich blue semiprecious gemstone found deep in the Sar-i-sang mountains of Afghanistan's Badakhshan province. For thousands of years it has sustained the nearby mining villages, whose inhabitants lived peacefully in the mountainous landscape--until the Taliban, known in the region as the Horsemen, came to seek the riches stored deep beneath the earth. Taliban rule has turned the stone into a conflict mineral, as they steal and sell it for their own gain.
At the behest of the fledgling Afghan government, seeking to wrest back control of the province, United States Marines are sent into the mountains. A platoon led by their eager and naive commander, First Lieutenant Roberts, and a stoic, fierce squad leader, Sergeant King, must overcome barriers of language and culture in this remote region to win the locals' trust, and their freedom from Taliban rule. Along the way, they must also wrestle with their demons--and face unimaginably difficult choices.
A sweeping yet intimate story about brutality, kindness, and the remnants of colonialism, Battle Born: Lapis Lazuli is an epic saga from the voice of a new generation of military veterans.
Former Marine Uriarte (Terminal Lance), who served two tours of duty in Iraq, follows up his semiautobiographical The White Donkey with this tense graphic novel set in present-day Afghanistan. A Marine squadron arrives in cold, mountainous Badakhshan on a mission to break up the Taliban's interference in the local gemstone trade. They face reticence from the villagers and Taliban patrols who attack on horseback and the overall moral ambiguity of trying to fix what years of interference from America, Britain, and Russia have wrought as well as internal threats of racism, sexism, and egotism among their own ranks. The story centers on no-nonsense African-American marine Sergeant King, whose innate humanity doesn't prevent him from committing acts of shocking violence. Uriarte lends a gritty sense of realism to the action, which helps surmount some over-familiar tropes playing through the script. Uriarte's drawing is labored at times it's particularly hard to tell the armored-up characters apart but his storytelling is assured and often thrillingly cinematic. The page count gives the narrative room to breathe, with wordless images of tiny human figures against the vast mountains and a bravura ending. This visceral war story reinforces the difficulty of decisions by forces fighting across blurred lines.
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Very good. Shows how a lot of internal conflicts and beliefs are in the Marine Corps. Different people from different areas with different perspectives fighting a battle for a different reason. Along the way we learn about the struggles of not only that type of environment but the type of individuals and how they behave in certain situations. Sgt King was an excellent main character, Displaying how savagery isn’t an exclusive, it is in the eye of the beholder. The art work is very beautiful as well, the themes of certain scenes really mesh well with the palette used. I loved it!