The New Breed

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

The problem with any continuing series is that if the author writes in “real” time the characters must inevitably age, yielding corresponding changes in the structure of the work. It would not do to have an action-oriented character closer to Social Security than to puberty performing physically demanding feats without noticeable ill effects. One method of dealing with this problem is to retain the original characters in roles more suited to their age and experience while introducing new blood in the persons of sons, daughters, and friends to handle the more active sequences.

W.E.B. Griffin, throughout this series on the United States Army, has not only let his fictional creations age but has also provided new characters to undertake the activities demanded by his story line. Thus, in his examination of the circumstances subsequent to the creation of the Republic of the Congo, he brings to center stage Jacques Emile Portet, who plays the active role in the machinations of Sanford Felter, counselor to Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon Johnson. Felter is convinced that the Soviet Union intends to destabilize the newly established government of the Republic of the Congo. He employs his considerable power and his extensive friendships within the military establishment to forestall that possibility. Set against the Gulf of Tonkin incident, THE NEW BREED sketches a plausible background to the historical raid by Belgian paratroopers on Stanleyville during the closing days of the Simba rebellion.

The BROTHERHOOD OF WAR series undoubtedly profits from the spate of books labeled “Vietlit,” but the origins of the series undoubtedly trace back to the teenage adventure works of World War II and authors such as R. Sidney Bowen and Canfield Cook. If the exploits of Dave Dawson and “Lucky” Terrell thrilled a generation of young patriotic minds, Griffin’s volumes are aimed at the adult offspring of that same group. The plots are more complex, the characters engage in adult situations, and the historical events are realistically portrayed. The BROTHERHOOD OF WAR series may not have the introspection that distinguishes the great war novels of the past, but the books are action-packed and also good military history, making them well worth reading.