Enter the territory of Jeff Long, where the unknown is deeply present, death is a constant shadow, and the human spirit is our final hope. Now comes The Reckoning, another superbly original thriller -- a story of predation, betrayal, and resurrection that is at once intricate, haunting, and terrifying.
Armed with only a camera and iron determination, thirty-year-old photojournalist Molly Drake arrives in modern-day Cambodia to cover the U.S. military search for the remains of an American pilot shot down during the Vietnam War.
In this eerie wasteland pockmarked with human bones and live land mines, the people hold more secrets than the landscape, from aging archaeologist Duncan O'Brian to John Kleat, a caustic vet hunting for his long lost brother. When Molly's camera captures a flight helmet buried among Khmer Rouge victims, diplomatic powers force her and her civilian comrades off the dig.
But just as a typhoon looms offshore, the outcasts learn of an even bigger find. A mysterious expatriot guides them into the ruins of an ancient city, where they begin a harrowing search for the remains of an entire patrol of GIs that strayed in combat thirty years ago.
With storm winds hammering their jungle fortress, Molly discovers that a war she never knew never died. Her survival comes to depend on her journalistic skills to solve a forgotten murder among these warriors left behind. In the end, her only hope for salvation is to redeem the lost souls that surround her.
As stylishly written as it is suspenseful, The Reckoning is a thriller that illuminates the fragile thread between life and death, knowledge and ignorance, hope and horror. Bringing readers ever closer to enemy territory, it is a hair-raising journey into one of modern history's darkest periods and an intense look into the hearts still haunted by it.
Long (Year Zero, etc.) delivers a suspenseful, tightly written tale of a nightmarish journey into the dark past and present of Cambodia's former killing fields. Molly Drake, a would-be photojournalist, accompanies a U.S. Army-led search for the bones of a pilot shot down during the war. She meets Duncan O'Brian, an archeologist at a local dig, and John Kleat, who has come back to the country repeatedly, seeking his brother's remains. When bones unexpectedly turn up, Molly photographs them, breaking her agreement with the army not to take pictures of bodies. The captain in charge dismisses her along with O'Brian and Kleat, and the trio make their way to an ancient, fog-enshrouded Angkor-like city where they have evidence an army patrol went missing years ago. They soon find themselves lost in a labyrinth of ancient stone, in circumstances that quickly grow as dire as those in which the patrol evidently found itself. Long's considerable knowledge of Cambodian folklore and history is put to good use as he superbly depicts the war-scarred country, its people and its beautiful, hazardous landscape lush, verdant, strewn with land mines, studded by bones. Although the inner lives of the characters are not as detailed as they could have been, the author's use of supernatural elements is subtle and effective, and adds an extra dimension to this solid, coolly told, smoothly paced narrative.