“You’re going up the Valley.”
Black didn’t know its name, but he knew it lay deeper and higher than any other place Americans had ventured. You had to travel through a network of interlinked valleys, past all the other remote American outposts, just to get to its mouth. Everything about the place was myth and rumor, but one fact was clear: There were many valleys in the mountains of Afghanistan, and most were hard places where people died hard deaths. But there was only one Valley. It was the farthest, and the hardest, and the worst.
When Black, a deskbound admin officer, is sent up the Valley to investigate a warning shot fired by a near-forgotten platoon, he can only see it as the final bureaucratic insult in a short and unhappy Army career. What he doesn’t know is that his investigation puts at risk the centuries-old arrangements that keep this violent land in fragile balance, and will launch a shattering personal odyssey of obsession and discovery as Black reckons with the platoon’s dark secrets, accumulated over endless hours fighting and dying in defense of an indefensible piece of land.
The Valley is a riveting tour de force that changes our understanding of the men who fight our wars and announces John Renehan as one of the great American storytellers of our time.
Praise for the book:
“A must-read if you want a glimpse of the turmoil Americans faced in Afghanistan or if you just want a page-flipping good yarn.” ~ Kirkus Reviews
“A taut and harrowing tale of soldiers pushed to the brink and beyond by fear, exhaustion, and a powerful sense of the futility of their mission.” ~Library Journal
“John Renehan’s The Valley is both a gripping, tightly-wound mystery as well as a sharply observed look at the complex internal politics of the U.S. Army, the deterioration of men tasked with too vague a mission and too little support, and what happens when they trifle with the intricate power structures deep in the mountains of Afghanistan.” ~Phil Klay, author of Redeployment
“Renehan’s beautifully executed thrill ride brings this dramatic country and problematic war to life. It is a mystery novel in which the suspense builds while shedding light on a confounding war and the people who fight it. I cannot wait to delight my customers with The Valley, which will grab them from the first and surprise them throughout.” ~Publisher's Weekly "Galley Talk"
“John Renehan’s The Valley is an absorbing novel of war that refuses to give easy answers or wallow in sentimental hero-worship. His characters talk the way real soldiers do, and he perfectly captures both the intensity of deployment and the blurred morality that can develop in remote outposts, under fire, far from home and family. The Valley belongs among the great novels of America’s 21st century wars.” — Kayla Williams, author of Love My Rifle More Than You
“The Valley is a riveting, gut-wrenching tale destined to take its place alongside Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried and Philip Caputo’s A Rumor of War as modern warfare classics that paint their word pictures in emotion as much as blood.” ~ Providence Journal