An extraordinary debut novel about courage and survival in Afghanistan, written as only a man who has “been there and done that” could tell it.

 “When you write fiction, your best work may come from what scares you the most,” writes airman Thomas W. Young. “When I first flew to Afghanistan, what scared me the most wasn’t the thought of getting shot down and killed. It was the thought of getting shot down and not killed. . . .”

A transport plane carrying an important Taliban detainee for interrogation is shot down in a blizzard over the Hindu Kush. The storm makes rescue impossible, and for two people—navigator Michael Parson and a woman Army interpreter, Sergeant Gold—a battle for survival begins across some of the most forbidding terrain on earth against not only the hazards of nature, but the treacheries of man: the Taliban stalking them; the villagers, whose loyalty is unknown; and a prisoner who would very much like the three of them to be caught. All Parson and Gold have is each other, to stay alive.

It is a novel of relentless pace and constant surprise, not only in the turns of its plot but in the strength and fleetness of its prose. Thomas Young is a writer—and this is the beginning of a brilliant career.