The Prince of Flowers is the story of US Army CAPTAIN ANTOINE “TONY” DUPREY, the lone survivor of a helicopter shot down in Afghanistan’s southern desert, and an unusual child suicide bomber named JUMA GUL, who finds him. Juma tells Duprey the explosive suicide vest he is wearing is full of flowers that will make people better. Duprey assumes the child’s statements betray a battle-scarred psyche. What he doesn’t know is that Juma is no mere child and has existed through millenia and multiple wars in Afghanistan. Duprey and Juma Gul set off on a journey to make the world a better place. The soldier’s objective is to kill QARI NASRUDDIN MEHSUD, the Taliban insurgent who gave Juma Gul the suicide vest, and who trains and equips other Afghan children. Juma Gul simply wants to give the world his flowers. Shadowed by a Predator drone whose bloodthirsty pilot, DADDY RABBIT, sits in air-conditioned comfort on the other side of the planet, the soldier and the child are witnesses, victims of, and unwitting accomplices to the violence and hypocrisy of warfare in Afghanistan’s present as well as its past. As Duprey and Juma Gul endeavor to achieve their goals, their actions precipitate unanticipated and devastating consequences for the entire planet.
J. Howard Shannon is a writer and retired US Army Officer who served two tours in Afghanistan. Shannon is the author of the short stories “The Jump,” “The Dirge,” “Convoy Operations” and “Brought Low.” His novel – The Prince of Flowers – which is set in Afghanistan, challenges the conventional notions of modern combat.
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