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Control Under Fire


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About the Author

M. ZACHARY SHERMAN is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He has written comics for Marvel, Radical, Image, and Dark Horse. His recent work includes America's Army: The Graphic Novel, Earp: Saint for Sinners, and the second book in the SOCOM: SEAL Team Seven trilogy.


The series Bloodlines includes Blood Brotherhood and Fighting Phantoms in addition to these two. Each volume follows a member of the Donovan family during their military career in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War or Afghanistan War. In A Time for War, the first volume in the series, Private First Class Mike Donovan is part of a group of paratroopers dropped behind enemy lines on a mission to disrupt Hitler's army and German supply lines one month before D-Day. There are problems with his landing and he becomes separated from his unit. While hiding in an abandoned German farmhouse, PFC Donovan is spotted and shot at by German soldiers. Luckily, members of his unit and his sergeant rescue him just in time. Donovan rejoins his unit and they continue the mission. As the fighting intensifies, Donovan becomes apprehensive about his role in the war, his sergeant reassures him and PFC Donovan finds the courage to fulfill his role on the team. Control Under Fire sees the grandson of PFC Donovan, Lieutenant Lester Donovan, in action in Afghanistan. Lt. Donovan and his team of Navy Seals are given the task of capturing a Taliban leader. The mission seems to o according to plan until their escape helicopter is shot down. Separated from his platoon, Donovan decides to search enemy territory for his fellow soldiers. Following a hair raising battle, Lt. Donovan is able to rescue almost all of his men and successfully complete his mission. Authored by M. Zachary Sherman, a Navy Seal and the great-grandson of Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman, these books are fast paced and full of action. The short chapters are illustrated with full color cartoon-type panels. Interspersed throughout the book are non-fiction "debriefings" which offer illuminating information on various aspects of the war and war machinery. While this reviewer only saw two of the four books in the series, this series will work well with upper elementary through middle school boys as well as older reluctant readers. * VOYA *
The Bloodlines series from Capstone Publishing by Zachary M. Sherman is more about format than plot, although there is enough meat in these 80 page books that students who have forgotten for the last two months to get a book about war for language arts that they need for the test next week will find enough to discuss. The interesting thing is how they are formatted to reel in reluctant readers. Pages are occasionally illustrated with graphic novel style illustrations, and chapters end with "debriefings" that discuss causes of the war, equipment used, or events of specific days. This will please my students who like nonfiction tremendously. The writing is fine and the reading levels for Accelerated Reader unusually high (over 5.0 is high!), probably because of the technical terms. My only complaint is the use of large font in the middle of text to add things like "kablamo!, "fwooosh", and "ratatat", which was distractingly Batman- like. Just because we can play with text doesn't mean we have to. All in all, this series (even at $17.49 each) was a good investment. All descriptions from publisher. A Time For War "When his plane is shot down on June 6, 1944, D-Day, paratrooper Private Michael Donovan must find a way to survive and locate his platoon." Blood Brotherhood On December 1, 1950, Marine Captain Everett Donovan wakes up in a mortar crater behind enemy lines and is confronted by his Korean counterpart. Fighting Phantoms Shot down over Viet Nam in 1968, Marine Lieutenant "Candy Man" Donovan must leave his seriously injured best friend behind in enemy territory while he tries to reach their rendezvous point. Control Under Fire Lieutenant Commander Donovan has a chance to prove to himself and his elite SEAL team that he has what it takes to lead when their helicopter is shot down and some of his men captured by terrorists in the mountains of Kandahar, Afghanistan. * Ms. Yingling Reads blog *

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