The Sandbox

Publisher: Soho Press
Operating Base Cornucopia. A three-hundred-year-old fortress in the remote Iraqi desert where a few dozen soldiers wait for their next assignment, among them Private Toby Durrant, a self-described "broke nobody." Then a deadly ambush touches off events that put Durrant in the middle of a far-reaching conspiracy. Insurgents massing in the nearby hills, a secretive member of military intelligence, an abandoned toy factory and a mysterious, half-feral child—Durrant must figure out the links between them if he's to survive. This blistering look at military life in "the sandbox" of Iraq marks the debut of a major new talent.


"Gripping first novel.... Zimmerman has more in mind than merely getting a hard-luck soldier into trouble. The Sandbox is loaded with an M.R.E. caseful of plot elements, all pulled from Iraq war headlines—lost billions in cash, prisoner interrogations, soldier indiscretions, failed counterinsurgency plans—and all play their part in bringing Toby's story to its terrible conclusion. That every question in this novel interrogates every other is one of its great strengths and will keep you turning the pages of its short chapters, as each weaves the insistent first-person mystery of 'Why me?' with the larger mystery of 'What are we doing here?'"—The New York Times

"Zimmerman's remarkable debut succeeds both as a realistic portrayal of the current Iraq war from the American perspective and as an energetic thriller.... Zimmerman is a talent to watch."—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

"This fine first novel skillfully portrays both the eternal verities of war as well as the stark differences that each war imposes on the young who do the fighting; like many war novels, it powerfully conveys the message that young soldiers are more honorable than those who put them in harm's way."—Booklist