When the Jungle is Silent
Jason is stationed in Penang, an island just off the Malaysian coast, in 1964. Young and rudderless, he finds a purpose when he meets a young woman. Megan is an American serving in the Peace Corps and is intrigued by this Brit who seems to exemplify so much of what she herself is fighting against. They soon fall for each other. But then Jason is called away to Borneo. He finds himself in mortal danger as his fort is overrun, and he flees into the jungle. Only with the aid of an SAS sergeant can he hope to make it back to Penang, and back to Megan.
When the Jungle Is Silent is set during the little-known war called “The Confrontation.” Boschert makes the jungle come alive. You can hear the insect clicks and bird calls. You’ll swat at flies and ants. The tension is riveting as Jason makes his way through this alien landscape with hostile Indon soldiers pursuing him. There is no mistaking that the author is a war veteran from this same jungle.
Though I enjoyed the fighting and the jungle, the romance felt forced, as though it was required to flesh Jason out as a character. Also, I found myself slogging through much of the dialogue as I tried to interpret thick Cockney and Scottish accents.
I recommend this book to anyone interested in jungle warfare, The Confrontation, and the nuances of the British military of the 1960s.