John M(ichael) Del Vecchio Patricia L. Walsh - Essay

Patricia L. Walsh

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[The 13th Valley] is Del Vecchio's first novel, and it does have problems. It is slow starting, too long and has far too much Army jargon, requiring the reader to leaf constantly to the back of the book for definitions. Many of the terms are unnecessary to the story, and the task of defining them becomes tedious and intrusive. There is also much rambling debate about war, and a lieutenant who takes time out from planning an assault on a North Vietnamese headquarters to write a thesis on the essence of conflict. He does this while hiding in a tangled bamboo thicket where he endures sporadic interruptions by mortars, rockets and sappers. That he might accomplish such a feat is as improbable as the nonsensical Ayn...

(The entire section is 486 words.)