Excerpt from The Watch by Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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

The Watch

A Novel

By Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya

The Watch
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Jun 2012,
    304 pages.
    Paperback: Mar 2013,
    304 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Mark James

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Whalen continues to look worried. I'll wake Lieutenant Ellison, then, he says.

Nope. Let him sleep as well. He had the last watch.

Lieutenant Frobenius, he says: I don't know about this. C'mon, First Sarn't. We can handle this.

Whalen leaves, and I make my way back to the ANA position. As I pass Folsom and Mitchell, I peer out at the swirling murk. I can't see the concertina wire at all, and when I turn my head and run my eyes down the Hescos, I can hardly make out the guard tower. There's something wrong. I can sense it.

I hear a whimper behind me and turn around. Shorty, the platoon's adopted year-old pup, nuzzles my leg, his tail between his legs.

Shorty's a misnomer: he's already massive, a cross between a mastiff and some kind of Afghan hound. I can't imagine how big he's going to be full-grown. I bend down and pat him. His bushy coat is matted with sand and dust. He whimpers again, then growls, showing his fangs. He's pointing at the wire perimeter, tail held ramrod straight behind him hound-dog fashion. I feel the hairs on the back of my neck prick up. He growls again and begins to bark nonstop. There's something going on out there all right.

Whalen rejoins me. He's panting. I can't believe how quickly he's made it back. Grohl and Spitz are on their way, and Sergeant Tanner's at the ECP, he says rapidly. I glimpse the whites of his eyes flash behind his bandana. I can tell he's worried. We begin running toward the ANA position. The dog paces alongside, then darts out ahead of us into the maw of the storm. We hear him barking wildly.

The ANA turn and watch us approach. They don't move until we're standing right before them. See anything? Whalen says jerkily, pantomiming the question as he gestures toward the perimeter. Fazal Ahmed removes his face cloth. He looks disgusted. His two companions do the same and stand by with surly expressions. None of them answers Whalen.

A wave of irritation invades me, and I seize Fazal Ahmed's arm and draw him to me so roughly that the others begin to protest. Fazal Ahmed resists, his eyes filling with rage and pain. He continues to remain stubbornly silent, and suddenly he jerks and falls against my shoulder. I hear one of the others shout as I attempt to prop him back up - then let go of him abruptly. His helmet slaps off his head with a neat hole drilled through the back. Bits and pieces of brain slop down the collar of his tunic. The other two ANA swivel in tandem and gawk in the direction of the wire. Initially all I see in the brown darkness is a single muzzle flash. Then a fan of red tracers begins arcing through the haze. Grohl and Spitz come running up just as a turbaned silhouette darts through an inexplicable gap in the wire.


He dives behind the sandbag walls that surround the ANA's position. Something shrieks over our heads and detonates against a B-hut: it's an 88 mm round. The two remaining ANA are still standing in plain view as if frozen. Then the enemy opens up from about fifty meters away. I hear AK-47 rounds and rocket-propelled grenades. The ANA finally hit the ground and begin crawling toward their machine gun, but Grohl and Spitz beat them to it. We begin returning fire while enemy bullets rake up the Hescos all around us. There are others taking up position beside me. Most of them are in gym shorts and flip-flops: they must have come pelting out from their cots. Someone detonates the Claymores, and they engulf the man in the turban. As he disappears in an explosion of dust and smoke, Pfc. Jackson begins firing meaty M-203 rounds: good man; it's the perfect antidote for an attack under these conditions. From the guard tower, Espinosa goes cyclic with an Mk-19 belt-fed automatic launcher grenade - firing without stopping. Almost immediately I hear the retaliatory crump of a rocket-propelled grenade, and the guard tower buckles and disappears in a black pall. That RPG came from a different direction from the ones up front pinning us down. We've been taking fire from the north and the west and now someone else begins firing RPG rounds from the east. I replay Whalen's nightmare scenario in my head: we're surrounded. And we can't retaliate effectively. We're all firing blind.

Excerpted from The Watch by Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya. Copyright © 2012 by Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya. Excerpted by permission of Hogarth Books. 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 City
by Dean Koontz

Published Jul. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  119Tomlinson Hill:
    Chris Tomlinson
  2.  39The Arsonist:
    Sue Miller

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.