127 of 129 people found the following review helpful
on July 26, 2001
I have read all of Demille's books. I have enjoyed all of his books. I do not think that any can compete with Word of Honor. First of all, he truly allows the reader to understand the central character, Benjamin Tyson. I would catch myself on numerous occasions, understanding in certain situations exactly how he felt. His character development is flawless and the reader truly gets to know the characters.
The plot itself was incredibly interesting with the Vietnam war backdrop against a modern family in Long Island. In addition, a military courtroom drama is an uncommon trait in modern fiction. In reality, the last one I read was the Caine Mutiny.
I could not put this book down, and it's pretty long. I think I read it in just two sittings (not bad for 700+ pages). Demille truly engages the reader, unflods the plot in small steps, and keeps the reader on his toes. In addition, the detail of all aspects is incredible. I would recommend this book to everyone and have actually purchased it twice because when I lost it I could not live without it.
67 of 68 people found the following review helpful
on July 15, 2002
Nelson DeMille can be quite dark. Spencerville, The General's Daughter, and even Plum Island come to mind. The more books he writes, the darker he becomes, it seems.
I have been a fan since Charm School. I worked my way through Gold Coast, Cathedral, Rivers of Babylon and even Mayday, one of his earlier, co-authored, often overlooked books. Mayday shows the signs of his greatness.
DeMille works best for me when he maximizes the humor (often irony) and tension while minimizing graphic viloence or the dark side of human nature. Often his villains are driven but not inherently evil. His heroes are always flawed and usually funny in the worst situations.
Word of Honor balances all of these features and the result is one of DeMille's best, if not THE best. Vietnam has been cathartic for many Americans. Unlike World War II, where good and evil seem clear (and the basis for more heroic fiction than any other event in the world), Vietnam is nuances and conflicted lives. DeMille uses these to fine tune his humor and his hero.
This one is well worth checking out.
53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2000
Nelson DeMille knows of what he writes. As a Lt. in the service in Nam and a keen human observer--we are given over 700 pages that draw us into a world we Americans sometimes do not like to revisit.
The central character, Ben Tyson, is a modern day commuter with a cushy job in NY, a family out in the 'burbs and a sense of honor that is about to be tested to the inth degree. Somone has written a well selling book about the atrocities at Hue. The author's two witnesses have made Ben Tyson culpable for his unit's macabre killing behavior at a French hospital during the war. And now the government plans to make him their scape goat.
After 20 years of living with the past, the truth starts to come out. Slowly, in stages, as DeMille builds the tension with episodes between Tyson's wife, his lawyer, his reunion with his men, the author who revealed his secrets, and a cout-martial trial.
I always appreciate DeMille's well researched novels. Mixing actual events with fiction using humor and pathos is his baliwick. Characters you want to know and dialogue that snaps.
A moving read of war, adventure, and trust.
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 1999
If you are looking to be captivated and entertained, as well as educated and intrigued, read this book. Each and every chapter is well written and Nelson Demille does a great job all the way to the end. The story is about a really interesting man whose past includes an incredible experience in the Vietnam War. It gave me an appreciation for those who were in the war, including my dad. Also, it's neat how the book goes back and forth from the present to his past. This is the first Nelson Demille book I read, since then I've read Plum Island, Gold Coast, and Cathedral. Just purchased Generals Daughter and Charm School. His books are awesome!
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on March 10, 2002
This book brings out everything that a Demille fan expects from him: great story line, page-turning intrigue, and most importantly, Demille's own inimitable sardonic dialogue that is unmatched by any author. If you liked John Cory in Plum Island and Lion's Game (which any Demille fan does), then you'll really appreciate Ben Tyson in this one. Even better, he gets a sidekick (his attorney) who's just as bad/good as he is.
The story is built well, providing ample, but not too lengthy background of the main story - a civilian murder in Vietnam. This is NOT, however a Vietnam War story as much as it is a trial of an upwardly mobile family man from New York. AS you move through the book, you will find the pages turning faster adn faster, especially the last 100 pages.
Plum Island was my favorite until this read. Truly excellent!
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Word of Honor is not only arguably DeMille's finest novel it may well be one of the best novels you'll ever read. It quite simply crawls into your gut, sticks to your ribs and stay with you whole as you digest the significance of its powerful message.
And it's one hell of a read!
Ben Tyson is called to disclose the actions of his platoon twenty years after the Battle of Hue in a court of military law. Intermingled with flashbacks and back stories regarding a combat incident his unit handled during an extreme instant, a stressful moment about an 'event' between 'brothers'.
The courtroom scenes in this book are quite simply brilliantly crafted.
Tyson is a tight, faceted personality possessing the wry sarcasm and humor and open intelligence that only DeMille can create. Lucky for us he doesn't shower this attention on just his main character since everyone has a compelling, vital story to tell.
How can those of us who weren't there understand such complex feeling? Yet, DeMille, makes us understand, he transports our souls with the written word unlike no other and quietly says....this was our reality.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on February 3, 2000
I implore u to read this book. It is terrific. 700+ pages and I promise you you will want more. Ben Tyson's wit, his lawyer, his wife, the need to know more...it's everything you can ask for in a thriller. We have a need to know throughout the entire book. Why did it REALLY happen, what will happen next, who is invloved behind the scenes....TRUST ME ON THIS ONE....you will ove it especially if you are a fan of DeMille's.
31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on December 22, 1999
This book started out much the same as all the other Demille books I've read in the past, Great. He draws you into the life of the protagonist, shows you his flaws, makes you laugh with him, shows his world crumbling around him, all the while telling you a tragic story of war. As the books goes on and on the length doesn't bother you at all. Demille takes you on this 750 page journey and you're soaking it all in, then it just ends. One paragraph ends a 750 page book, and that's it. I'll admit I felt cheated, and the ending really cost this book 2 stars off my rating. It's not that what happened at the end was bad for the story, but that was it, it just ended. I guess a person prone to psychobable would say I needed closure after investing this much time in a book. If you want to read a masterpiece read Gold Coast, by far Demille's best work.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2005
This is a work of literature, with deep themes and flawed, yet heroic characters. Yes, it has a pulse-pounding plot and an ending that comes straight out of the thriller genre, but along the way this book pulls us all deeply into the issues of Vietnam, making us examine how we feel, and sweeping us up into a moving and powerful story. Of all the DeMille books, this is the best one to read, in my opinion.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 8, 2005
This novel is one of the most well crafted pieces of fiction I've ever read, it carefully and brilliantly intertwines a present day controversy with a torrid tale of misconduct in Vietnam. The mystery is revealed to the reader bit by bit while the protagonist is tugged left and right by various agencies of the government and his own family.
DeMille's style of writing gives a strong male protagonist that I can only suppose tends to reflect the authors own humor and sarcasm as well as honor, integrity and outlook on the world. He gives is opinion on many subjects, however, the often uncomprehendible stupidity of the government and its peter principle type workers come within the sights of his weaponized wit most often and with the greatest humor and insight.
I enjoy DeMille's writing because I like and root for his main characters, usually written in the first person he gives life to a person I'd like to call friend. The plots are always exciting and fast paced, page turning and well constructed. This work is now my second favorite, but only by a hair, behind The Gold Coast. Because it's a different kind of story, I can easily say that this work is the best of it's type I've ever read by far.
I strongly recommend this book to any that enjoy war type stories, lawyer type stories or simply stories about man's inner struggle to live honorably and still always do what's right in a sometimes cloudy world of law and justice. This is, to say again, a huge novel and one of the best I've ever read.