Excerpt from Blood Brothers by Michael Weisskopf, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Blood Brothers

Among the Soldiers of Ward 57

By Michael Weisskopf

Blood Brothers
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Oct 2006,
    320 pages.
    Paperback: Sep 2007,
    336 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

At first I thought it was a rock, the specialty of street urchins—a harmless shot against an armored Humvee. But the clanking sound that interrupted my thoughts couldn’t be ignored. Nothing in Baghdad was what it appeared to be. You survived by sensing danger in little unordinary things: overcoats on a hot day, shadows flitting across a rooftop. For me it was the sound of a projectile landing louder than any stone should have.

It bounced off the steel blast wall behind me. I gazed down, then to the right, and spotted an object on the wooden bench two feet away. The dark oval was as shiny and smooth as a tortoiseshell, roughly six inches long and four inches wide. None of my fellow passengers seemed to notice. Private Jenks, who sat closest to it, was facing the other way. I confronted the intruder alone, a journalist caught in a military moment. Something told me there was no time to consult the soldiers.

I rose halfway, leaned to the right, and cupped the object. I might as well have plucked volcanic lava from a crater. I could feel the flesh of my palm liquefying. Pain bolted up my arm like an electric current. In one fluid motion, I raised my right arm and started to throw the mass over the side of the vehicle, a short backhand toss. Then everything went dark.

The Humvee bed was cold and hard, an inhospitable place to awaken. I struggled to sit up and fell back. Over my left shoulder, I could see sparks and a bluish flame rising in smoke. I took stock in the flickering light. My right leg burned from knee to hip, as if pricked by hundreds of hot needles. Blood was oozing from it and forming a cold, wet layer over my pant leg; my right arm felt heavy and numb. Was I having a nightmare? The hollow, faraway sound of voices was dreamlike. So was the sepia hue of the winter sky. I shook my right arm, trying to wake it up. Still no response. I elevated it to see why.

My wrist looked like the neck of a decapitated chicken. The wound was jagged, the blood glistening in the light. My mouth was dry, my brow soaked in sweat; my heart beat quickly and weakly, little dings in my chest.

All sound and sight dimmed, as my thoughts turned inward. This is not how I pictured my life ending: futilely and unglamorously, on the frigid floor of a truck, thousands of miles away from anyone I loved.

Noises muffled just a few moments earlier suddenly became distinct: “Are there casualties?” I recognized Buxton’s voice.

“Yes, we need to go now,” Beverly answered tersely.

“How serious? Are you wounded?”

“We don’t have time to answer these questions right now, Sergeant. We need to get back to the base. We need to go now.”

“We’re hit, we need help,” screamed Nachtwey. “Get us out of here. Move it.” I tried to join in but could barely muster a whisper. Jenks was no better. He was glassy-eyed and slumped in the corner, his automatic weapon dangling at his feet. He looked dead.

Buxton ordered the driver to move. He didn’t see Specialist Billie Grimes, who had jumped out of the vehicle behind us and was sprinting toward us in a hail of enemy fire. “Stop. Stop,” she yelled. We did so long enough for the slight, twenty-six-year-old medic from rural Indiana to leap in. She landed on a floor that was so slick from blood she slid over me, barely able to stay on her feet. The driver gunned it again, all but pulling her legs out from under her. She straddled my hips to maintain her balance and quickly took inventory. Jenks was stunned, but breathing. Beverly, bleeding from his knees and mouth, was strong enough to hold up his weapon and guard the rear. Nachtwey was wounded in his knees and abdomen. Instinctively, he reached for his camera to document the scene. He leaned forward and focused the camera on me. The flash startled Grimes.

“Put down the camera, Jim,” she yelled and flipped him a roll of gauze battle dressing to press on his wounds. Nachtwey ignored her and shakily snapped another frame. Then he passed out, camera in hand.

Excerpted from Blood Brothers by Michael Weisskopf. Copyright © 2006 by Michael Weisskopf. Excerpted by permission of Henry Holts and Company. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: A Man Called Ove
    A Man Called Ove
    by Fredrik Backman
    Reading A Man Called Ove was like having Christmas arrive early. Set in Sweden, this debut novel is ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Search
    by Geoff Dyer
    All hail the independent publisher! In May 2014, Graywolf Press brought two of long-revered British ...
  • Book Jacket
    Mrs. Hemingway
    by Naomi Wood
    Naomi Wood's latest novel, Mrs. Hemingway, is a fictionalized biography covering in turn writer...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Arsonist
by Sue Miller

Published Jun. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  103Tomlinson Hill:
    Chris Tomlinson
  2.  167The City:
    Dean Koontz

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist


Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.