As a successful trial lawyer, Mike Beck uses his personality and his skill with the letter of the law to win in a courtroom. As a marine reservist ordered to Iraq on an unexpected deployment, he finds himself in a different world where the law of war often conflicts with common sense and his own feel for what’s right and what’s wrong.
When an embedded female correspondent reveals what appears to be an illegal killing of Iraqi civilians by a US marine during the battle for Fallujah, Beck finds himself faced with a case that challenges both his legal skills and his conviction that something is very wrong with what seems to be a clear violation of the law of land warfare. Devoted to finding the truth about an ugly incident and keeping an innocent marine from being convicted in a court-martial, Mike Beck defies orders, purloins evidence, and leads a combat team that must fight its way through a fanatical enemy force to investigate the scene of the alleged crime.
Along the way as he battles his conscience, command influence, and a media giant clamoring for his head, Mike Beck finds a lot of truth about the case, about the brutal enemy in Iraq, about the nature of a very nasty war, about the marines risking their lives in a confusing combat situation—and about himself as a marine, a lawyer, and a man.