Retired Army Ranger Thomas Lane once burned for the taste of gunpowder and the thrill of the battle. But as he struggles to cope with his own PTSD and the death of his eldest son, killed by an IED in Afghanistan, Lane learns that the price of war is far too dear.
When the National Guard calls up Lane's youngest son to serve, Lane knows he will do anything to save his child--even if it means going in his place, a pursuit unheard of since the Civil War when slaves were sent to war in place of their masters.
In His Stead, Judith Sander's second novel, follows Thomas Lane's crusade against the United States Army, its JAG corps, a vengeful officer, the very son he is desperate to save, and his own wife, who has the Solomon-like choice of losing either a husband or a son.
As a mother, I would take my son's place in a heartbeat if it would save him from being hurt. I've had family killed in wars and it's heartbreaking. In His Stead is the story of Thomas Lane, a man who doesn't want his son to be hurt - physically or mentally - who takes his youngest son's place in Afghanistan.
The book brought tears to my eyes on many occasions. Not only for Tom, but for his wife (One can't choose between a husband and a son), but for his son as well. There are moments filled with joy and laughter, but the reasoning behind Tom's decision just makes me want to bawl like a baby. He's already lost one son to war - he'll be damned if he'll lose another. Unconditional love at it's finest. The reader gets to know Tom as a father, husband, and a soldier. I absolutely love the cover of this book - it's so poignant.
Sanders has researched her novel well. The historical depictions are detailed and relevant. The characters are well-developed, their story still with me long after I have turned the last page. The combat scenes are adreneline pumping, and the plot is really solid. I felt like I've felt every emotion while I read this book - from sadness, joy, inspiration, faith, hope and fear and much more. I can't recommend this book highly enough. Sanders has written a magnificent novel that deserves to be heard.
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.