Twenty years ago, Sarajevo burned. From 1992 to 1995, the Bosnian capital endured one of the worst sieges of modern warfare.
This year marks the twentieth anniversary of other significant events from the Bosnian war, as well. In 1993, the United Nations declared a number of “safe areas,” including the town of Srebrenica. Two years later, thousands of Muslim men and boys died at Srebrenica in the worst mass killing in Europe since World War II. The siege of the city of Mostar, as well as mass murder in the Lašva Valley, both took place in 1993.
In Tom Young’s new military adventure novel THE WARRIORS, which Putnam will publish on July 11 ($26.95), Air Force officer Michael Parson faces a war criminal who wants to finish what he helped start during that earlier conflict. Wealthy arms dealer Viktor Dušić hopes to use a terrorist attack as the match to reignite the flames that ravaged that part of the world two decades ago.
Tom Young personally witnessed that conflict by taking on two vastly different roles—one of them by reporting on the conflict through the media, and the other by serving in the American military. “I saw the wars in the former Yugoslavia from two different perspectives,” Young recalls. “First as a journalist, and then as a military flier.”
In Washington, DC, Young helped coordinate coverage of the Balkan wars as a producer, editor, and newsroom supervisor for the broadcast division of the Associated Press. As a flight engineer with the Air National Guard, he flew airlift missions in Bosnia and Kosovo on C-130 Hercules cargo planes. “I found it hard to watch Yugoslavia tear itself apart while the world stood by,” Young now says.
In his Afterword to THE WARRIORS, Tom Young comments, “Those Air National Guard missions seemed otherworldly, flying relief supplies to a region where an ethnic group had been targeted for extinction. This kind of thing wasn’t supposed to happen anymore. After the Holocaust, the world had said Never Again. But it turned out the world didn’t really mean it.”
NATO forces eventually intervened, but not before thousands lost their lives.
Flashbacks in THE WARRIORS recreate scenes drawn from 1990s headlines, including one of the era’s most poignant stories–the murder of “The Bosnian Romeo and Juliet.” On May 19, 1993, Admira Ismic and Bosko Brkic were shot to death as they attempted to flee over the Vrbanja Bridge in Sarajevo. According to reports, Ismic and Brkic had dated for years, and they were buried together. She was a Muslim; he was a Christian.
Iraq and Afghanistan have since eclipsed the Bosnian war in the American consciousness. “A lot of people don’t remember that about a hundred thousand people died in Bosnia,” Young notes.
In his Afterword, Young also writes, “We owe those dead, some of whom rest in mass graves, remembrance. Yet the conflict in the former Yugoslavia has become a forgotten war. Perhaps this novel offers a small reminder.”
For further information about THE WARRIORS, or to arrange an interview with Tom Young, please contact:
Senior Executive of Publicity
G.P. Putnam’s Sons