“...immediately became engrossed in this exciting, thoughtful, eye-opening, and heartfelt tale.” - Jon Michael Miller, Readers Favorite
“Filled with action and intrigue, Apricots is a thoroughly engaging blockbuster of a novel where the breakneck pace of the plot and the absorbing narrative never lets your attention waver for a single moment...If you enjoy reading action-packed military fiction novels, Apricots is the book for you.” - Pikasho Deka, Readers Favorite
Lieutenant Robert Forrest joined the Marines because his father was a Marine. His whole life he felt the pull of patriotism rooted in his Marine Corps upbringing. But after the Vietnam war, he doubts the Country he’s sworn to serve. The collapse of the Republic of Vietnam in 1975 confirmed defeat of the U.S. – and the wasted sacrifice of 58,000 American lives. Getting killed for a lost cause in an unnecessary War is Forrest’s greatest fear.
In 1983, eight years after Saigon fell, Lieutenant Robert Forrest leads a Marine platoon bound for Beirut. Along the way, the Marines invade Grenada and then move on to Beirut. Can Forrest reconcile his service with his doubts? Will the Marines all make it out alive? Or will Forrest’s worst fears be realized?
Set against the backdrop of a post-Vietnam world, Apricots tells the harrowing story of one Lieutenant and his platoon as they fight in Grenada, the last Combat of the Cold War, and then move onto Beirut to fight the first battles in the War on Terror.
Read the book with great pleasure over the weekend. It really hit home with me as I served with 22/24/32 MAUs in Beirut. I was gone by the time you got there but all the descriptions were on the mark and brought the experience home to me. Never made the Grenada op so that was all fascinating. A reader can certainly tell it was written by a Marine, very evocative for an insider. Loved the characters, particularly the Gunny. He was like a lot of Staff NCOs I knew over the years: superficially coarse but with a real depth of understanding and intelligence. And finally...a novel that focuses on amtracs! Really great stuff. I'm hoping you'll consider sending me a signed copy when it hits the stands.
– Captain Dale Dye, USMC (Ret.)
“...immediately became engrossed in this exciting, thoughtful, eye-opening, and heartfelt tale. In places, Apricots reads almost like poetry: “... sleet specs bounced off his helmet like dancing albino knats.” Author John E. Holloway shows us what happens in military life but also what it truly feels like. The protagonist, Lt. Robert Forrest loves being a Marine and being alive. He notices the ocean, the sky, his fellow Marines, and he describes his roots in the Virginia mountains and the disenchanted patriotism of his Marine father. Lt. Forrest personifies the expression "esprit de corps," and he both exemplifies and demonstrates bravery, courage, and empathy. And we chuckle at the stories told in bunkers and ships about personal histories and - so unexpectedly - opera librettos. And, of course, the legendary apricots! John E. Holloway, author and always a Marine, has given us a masterpiece in reality and - dare I say it - the joy and beauty of fighting for his country.”
– Jon Michael Miller, Readers Favorite, 5 Star Review
“Author John E. Holloway's novel masterfully showcases the futility of war, where soldiers quite often find their destinies taken out of their own hands. Filled with action and intrigue, Apricots is a thoroughly engaging blockbuster of a novel where the breakneck pace of the plot and the absorbing narrative never lets your attention waver for a single moment. The characters are compelling, and the realistic dialogue and setting create tension and suspense that make for many thrilling moments. Robert Forrest is a protagonist that you can't help rooting for. I also enjoyed the camaraderie and the brotherly banter between the soldiers. The climax makes sense in hindsight, but it was heartbreaking nonetheless. If you enjoy reading action-packed military fiction novels, Apricots is the book for you.”
– Pikasho Deka, Readers Favorite, 5 Star Review
“This book offers a fascinating perspective into the day-to-day lives of active service members, especially those operating an armored vehicle in a world that feels vaguely familiar to them but also utterly foreign. John E. Holloway demonstrates an incredible understanding of the group of people caught in the politics of their situation and surviving one day to the next by following orders and relying on each other for support. The descriptive writing used for even the most mundane and everyday aspects of life working with an armored vehicle is sublime. The smells in particular--exhaust fumes and oil mixed with the salt of ocean water--practically emanating from the page. Apricots is a vivid portrayal of a journey through dangerous fields and back-room politics. A must-read for those seeking insight into an under-depicted part of the marines’ history and fans of war stories grounded in the real world.”