From the legendary special operations sniper and best-selling author of The Reaper comes a rare and powerful audiobook on the art of being a sniper.
Way of the Reaper is a step-by-step accounting of how a sniper works, through the lens of Irving's 10 most significant kills - none of which have been told before. Each mission is an in-depth look at a new element of eliminating the enemy, from intel to luck, recon to weaponry. Told in a thrilling narrative, this is also a heart-pounding true story of some of the Reaper's boldest missions, including the longest shot of his military career on a human target of over half a mile.
In Iraq and Afghanistan, Nick Irving earned his nickname in blood, destroying the enemy with his sniper rifle and in deadly firefights behind a .50 caliber machine gun. He engaged a Taliban suicide bomber during a vicious firefight, used nearly silent subsonic ammo, and was the target of snipers himself. Way of the Reaper attempts to place the listener in the heat of battle, experiencing the same dangers, horrors, and acts of courage Irving faced as an elite member of the 3rd Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, while also examining the personal ramifications of taking another life.
Listeners will experience the rush of the hunt and the dangers that all snipers must face while learning what it takes to become an elite man hunter. Like the Reaper himself, this explosive audiobook blazes new territory and takes no prisoners.
The preface of this audiobook is read by the author.
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Thought provoking in places, forgettable in others
I think I was expecting something a little bit like a 21st century "Homage to Catalonia", an infantryman's perspective on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq with observations about the country, the people and the situation. But this is mostly straight war-stories of missions undertaken, fire-fights engaged in and enemies killed, and (I feel a little guilty saying this about a real man's combat experiences) they tend to blur together. However there is also a lot in this book that I found absorbing, his insights into the psychological stresses men are under in a warzone, and when they come home, make it worth the cover price and elevate it above simple tales of blood and heroics. Particularly memorable are his discussion of how the need for soldiers to be strong to support their buddies makes it hard for them to open up about their experiences. I also particular liked how the book disabuses the reader of the notions portrayed in some parts of the media that soldiers are permitted to run around playing cowboy and killing with impunity. The constant pressure to prove that each kill was "clean" (legal under the rules of engagement) runs throughout the narrative.
I would recommend it to anyone who wants to get a perspective on the lives of the men we as a society send out to do our killing for us, and then like to forget about when they come home.
The narrator is OK, but not outstanding IMHO.