Martin L. Strong,
SEAL Strike!
Book One: Death Before Dawn

(Writer's Showcase, 2001)

Matthew Barrett was raised by a Marine Colonel who expected nothing but perfection in his son. With a personal code of conduct that demanded discipline, there was no allowance for failure in one's endeavors. When a father's long list of achievements include a Congressional Medal of Honor, how is a son supposed to live up to that?

Perhaps understandably, Matt was practically driven to join an elite group such as the Navy SEALs to prove himself worthy to his father as much as to himself. Death Before Dawn: SEAL Strike! Book One, by Martin L. Strong, starts with the 26-week training course an individual must complete in order to become a SEAL. As the story unfolds through Matt's eyes, the reader will quickly understand why the majority of those accepted in to the program never complete it.

Interspersed with Matt's training, the reader sees a glimpse of turmoil to come in the Middle East. Egypt's government has been forcibly taken over by an Islamic extremist who desires nothing less than to remove Western influence from his country. Matt's first real combat mission will lead him and a small squad into Egyptian territory as a pre-invasion scouting force. Death Before Dawn quickly advances to fast-paced action that is sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats.

The author of this 150-page novel, Strong, writes from experience. Strong is a veteran of 36 SEAL combat missions. Due to the fact that Strong is retired from the Navy (he currently works as an account vice president and portfolio manager for Paine Webber), you have to wonder how fine the line exists between fact and fiction in this tale. For myself, I found Death Before Dawn totally believable and thought more than once that some of what Matt experiences came from Strong's life. I understand that the Egyptian scenario is made up, but the maneuvers and battles depicted seem very real.

While Death Before Dawn is a very short book that will only take a few hours at most to complete, I am confident that readers who enjoy military tales will be entertained. Their only disappointment will be that the story ends all too soon. Fortunately, Seal Strike! Book Two is due out this year. For more information, you can check out the website. In the meantime, do yourself a favor and purchase book one. If you are a fan of action books, you will be glad you did.

[ by Wil Owen ]
Rambles: 5 October 2002

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