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:

  • First Published:
    Jun 2012, 304 pages
    Mar 2013, 304 pages

  • 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

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    The Marriage of Opposites
    by Alice Hoffman
    Alice Hoffman's latest work, The Marriage of Opposites, is a historical fiction novel focusing on ...
  • Book Jacket: Miss Jane
    Miss Jane
    by Brad Watson
    National Book Award Finalist Brad Watson returns with an intimate novel about one woman's journey to...
  • Book Jacket: Dinner with Edward
    Dinner with Edward
    by Isabel Vincent
    In late 2009 Isabel Vincent and her family were still newcomers to New York City. She and her ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Miss Jane
    by Brad Watson

    "Starred Review. Sensitive, beautifully precise prose. Highly recommended." - PW

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    All Is Not Forgotten
    by Wendy Walker

    This is fast-paced psychological suspense/thriller at it's very best.

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Girl Waits with Gun
by Amy Stewart

An enthralling novel based on the forgotten true adventures of one of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Summer Stunner
Summer Giveaway

Win 5 books, each week in July!


Word Play

Solve this clue:

W M T N, W C F All

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

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

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


BookBrowse Summer Giveaway

We're giving away
5 books every
week in July!