Book Review : Special Forces – Soldiers by Aleksandr Voinov
Special Forces is the story of a Scottish SAS soldier and a Soviet spetsnaz soldier. Two enemies who meet in the line of duty during the early days of the Soviet Union’s last war in Afghanistan. Behind enemy lines, respect and finally love grow. But that’s only the official version. This epic spans across over twenty-five years of their lives. It’s harsh and violent, but life is cruel and they just do what they need to survive.
Special Forces – Soldiers is the first cycle of the Special Forces epic, which consists of three cycles and is about a million words. The second cycle is Mercenaries and the third one is Veterans.
A Sneak Peek Into The Story :
Vadim has just arrived in Kabul that night along with all the Soviet soldiers. That night, they don’t have any mission lined up for them. No mission. No undertaking new operation. No duties. That night, they are free to do whatever they want since they has just arrived in Kabul and their duty does not start until tomorrow. And what do soldiers do in their free time? They get drunk.
That is exactly what Vadim and his comrades do. And when there are so many men getting drunk in such small space, fights are bound to happen. This, to Vadim, has become normal occurrence. It does not shock him, barely anything does anymore these days. In fact, with all the pent up energy and tension after weeks upon weeks of waiting for the deployment back to Kabul that is coiling inside him, Vadim welcomes the fight.
Usually, a fight or two is able to satisfy his need for violence. However, after being cooped up doing nothing but waiting for weeks, Vadim finds that fighting does nothing to calm him down at all. He needs something more. Maybe a fight with someone who is his equal, or maybe just a good lay. As he contemplates on what to do that might calm his nerves, his casually scans over his surroundings and sees a man who is standing opposite the building, fumbling for a camera.
A reporter. Vadim casually drinks his vodka, showing no signs that he knows what the man is trying to do. From a distance Vadim judges the man ; tall and broad shouldered. The man looks like he can pack a punch. And Vadim can feel it in the air, the promise of a good fight and violence, maybe even a good crew. Already, he knows that this night is going to get a whole lot more interesting.
“A dangerous game. Cat – mouse, tiger and moth. The dance in the flame had begun.”
On the other hand, Dan is cursing his mission. Dressed in worn shirt, cameras, multi-pocket vest, shoulder bag and dusty boots, Dan’s objective for the night is to be undercover as a reporter as he does a reconnaissance of his surrounding. However, with nothing but barren land as far as he can see and with dust continuing to attack his eyes, he is quickly growing bored and irritated. That is, until he hears a noise so loud that it piqued his interest.
When he finally finds out the source of the sound, he cannot believe his luck. This is the kind of information he needs to collect and get back to his superiors. Without anymore delay, he fishes out a camera from his bag only to have it slip out of his grasp, forcing him to dig deeper into the bag. And right at that moment, a car passes and bathe him for a moment in light, just enough time for someone to take notice of his presence.
Immediately soon after, the Soviet soldiers starts to pour out of the house and he notices that two of them separates from the pack only to disappear in the shadows. And at that moment Dan knew that he has been spotted.
“I met Vadim in 1980 under circumstances that I cannot repeat.
We were hell-bent on destruction at first.
Enemies: two soldiers, Soviet spetsnaz and British SAS.
But it changed, it all changed completely over the years.”
When I first started this book, I thread slowly and cautiously because I rarely ever read military genre books so I need the time to adjust to the writing style and military terms. But even with that obstacle in mind, the story sucks me in immediately as soon as I read the first paragraph. And after I get the hang of the writing style, I could not stop reading.
Hate, fear, lust, doubt, pain, longing, desperation, comfort, anger, desire . Any range of emotions you can think of, this book will take you there. This book is by far the most painstakingly detailed portrayal of a relationship between two enemies that gradually turn into something more. Something that becomes each other’s reason for being.
The character development in this book is mind staggeringly fantastic. The authors have such an amazing writing skill that they can turn your deep seated hatred for a character into unending support and love. Voinov and Marquesate does not half-ass anything in this book. If anything, they go above and beyond with their writing and description until all you can do is give up trying to predict and counterattack on what is going to happen next, and just feel.
“You’ll remember tonight.” Teeth digging into soft flesh of neck and throat, right above the cigarette burn. The bite answered by a drawn-out groan. “You’ll remember me.”
“Always … to my last breath. Last bullet. Last thought.”
Throughout the years, I have read a lot of books but most of them were unable to touch me on the emotional level that this book did. In “Special Forces : Soldiers” it was as if these authors carved a piece of my heart out and replace it with Dan and Vadim. The amount of emotions that I feel while I read this book was mind-blowing. When they laugh, I laugh with them. When they hurt, I did too. Their yearning, need, want, fear, I feel every single one of those emotions alongside them.
The Verdict :
This book blew my mind away. Completely and totally took my breath away. Before this book, I didn’t know that I still have it in me to be able to feel so much for characters in a book. I can’t even remember how long it has been since a book was able to make me feel so much and so deeply. And as it proves out, I just need the right kind of book to evoke that feelings out of me. Thanks to these two wonderful authors, Voinov and Marquesate, who gave birth to such a beautifully captivating book as “Special Forces : Soldiers”.
There is no doubt in my mind that these two characters, Vadim and Dan, will stay with me for a very very long time (and no, I am not exaggerating). I cannot recommend this book enough. If you enjoy reading M/M genre books, then this one is a definite must read.
“Nobody else. Feels … like this,” he murmured, breathless.
“Nobody else can … match me. You have me. Always have. Just you.”