I think it is fair to say that Dreamer is a complex book that works on many levels, different people will interpret the story in different ways. At the most simplistic level it is an action thriller concerning a group of Vietnam veterans that are once more called to arms, by a comrade who invokes a unique oath of loyalty the men made to each other in the jungles of Vietnam.

The backdrop to the action is the time shortly before the Argentine versus Great Britain conflict over the Falkland Islands in 1982. Their mission is to rescue Sunny, the wife of Major David Elliot, one of their number. Sunny is being held and likely being tortured in an Argentinian jail. Sunny a US citizen of Argentinian birth has disappeared while visiting the country in an attempt to stop her parents from being persecuted by the government. This aspect of the novel is historically correct, the ‘Dirty War’ as it was named occurred during 1976-1983, dissidents of the military junta disappeared in the middle of the night, they were detained, tortured, and eventually killed. Exact numbers are not known but some estimates have the number as high as 30,000.

The mysterious Keaton, the mens mentor in Vietnam asks the six men to meet him at a remote farmhouse, and each man must bring some items, guns, uniforms, oh and a helicopter! From this point the clock is ticking. We follow the action through Mexico and South America. There are no shortage of subplots and forks in the road. I won’t share more of the plot, I will leave it up to the reader to discover the strange events that unfold.

For readers who like a good action adventure Dreamer fits the bill well. But there is a lot more to Dreamer than just gunfights and derring do, there are some strong religious undertones concerning God and Satan. Good and evil are constant companions throughout the novel. I found this aspect an interesting one, and one that was very thought provoking. The traditional view of God being all things good, and Satan being all things bad, does at times venture into shades of gray in Dreamer. This certainly will be a subject that I plan on asking the author when I next speak to him.

Through flashbacks we start to learn about the team and their horrific ordeal in Vietnam. The covenant was taken under extreme duress. There are also questions of loyalty and betrayal that must be answered. Each man has his own demons to be exorcised.

This is Philip Davidson’s first foray into the literary world, and I think it is a very fine effort. Although not overtly exposed Dreamer also explores the phenomena of PTSD, clearly all of the characters suffer from it in varying levels of severity. Much of the Vietnam descriptions are chilling pieces of writing. While I cannot say how much of the narrative is factual I do know that Philip Davidson is a Vietnam veteran and his authoritative style of writing leads me to believe that some of the scenes are based on his personal experiences.

It will be interesting to see what his next novel is like. In some ways I could almost see a sequel to Dreamer. Philip Davidson has done a good job of developing his main characters and keeping that investment might well pay dividends. Grab a copy of Dreamer and take it for a test drive, I do not think you will be disappointed.

Your can order your copy of Dreamer from Philip Davidson’s web site.

Simon Barrett

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