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Authors: Mark Schultz

Letters from War

BOOK: Letters from War
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Praise for
Letters from War

“Mark Schultz has touched millions with his song ‘Letters from War.' Now Mark's novel will take you deeper into the story, grabbing your imagination and taking you on an unforgettable journey of the heart.”

—Karen Kingsbury,
New York Times
bestselling author of
Unlocked
and
Leaving

“The first time I heard Mark Schultz's song ‘Letters from War,' I was speechless. Now, seeing the heart of that message poured into a full-length novel, I'm not just speechless, but amazed at the sacrifice our men and women in uniform—and their families—so willingly make to protect our freedom. Thanks, Mark, for reminding us all of the cost of liberty.”

—Dave Ramsey, host of
The Dave Ramsey Show,
bestselling author of
The Total Money Makeover

“A compelling story of the love a mom, dad, and bride have for their soldier.
Letters from War
graphically reminds us of the price our soldiers and their families pay to protect our nation. You'll not be able to put this book down.”

—Dr. Dennis Rainey, president of FamilyLife

“The first time I met Mark Schultz I heard him sing in Estes Park. He closed out his set with ‘Letters from War,' accompanied by a very moving music video. I wept when I listened and watched the story unfold. What
makes Mark special is that he is an advocate through song and story for the forgotten people of this world. He causes us to see our story in theirs, uniting through brokenness and hope.
Letters from War
is a must-read.”

—Sandi Patty, Women of Faith speaker, most awarded female vocalist in Christian music history

“As Americans we understand and admire the courage and strength of our military, but now Mark Schultz has taken us into the hearts of these freedom fighters. We, as the reader, can almost feel the love, worry, and pain that they and their families experience during their service.”

—Lee Greenwood, multi-platinum-selling recording artist, Grammy Award winner, composer/singer of “God Bless the USA”

“As a friend and a fan of Mark Schultz, I have always been amazed at his ability to tell a great story through his songs. With his new book,
Letters from War,
Mark shows that his storytelling extends far beyond his music. Once again, Mark tells a compelling story that is going to touch the hearts of those who read it.”

—Matthew West, Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter

“Mark Schultz is the ultimate storyteller. Through his music and now his book,
Letters from War
touches our hearts, lifts our spirits, and honors our country.”

—Tommy Spaulding,
New York Times
bestselling author of
It's Not Just Who You Know

Howard Books
A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
www.simonandschuster.com

Copyright © 2011 by Mark Schultz

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever. For information address Howard Books Subsidiary Rights Department, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020.

First Howard Books paperback edition September 2011

HOWARD and colophon are trademarks of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

The Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau can bring authors to your live event. For more information or to book an event, contact the Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau at 1-866-248-3049 or visit our website at
www.simonspeakers.com
.

Designed by Jaime Putorti

Manufactured in the United States of America

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Schultz, Mark, 1970–

Letters from war: a novel / Mark Schultz; with Travis Thrasher.

p. cm.
I. Thrasher, Travis, 1971–. II. Title.
PS3619. C4783L48 2011
813'.6—dc22
2010054015

ISBN 978-1-4391-9731-8
ISBN 978-1-4391-9732-5 (ebook)

Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. Scripture quotations marked NIV are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version
®
, NIV
®
. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

This book is dedicated to the men and women who have served in the military—past, present, here, or overseas—and to their families. We are humbled and grateful for the sacrifices you have made.

Contents

Prologue

Part One: Letters From Home

Chapter 1: Beth

Chapter 2: James

Part Two: Letters From Training

Chapter 3: Beth

Chapter 4: James

Part Three: Letters From Iraq

Chapter 5: Beth

Chapter 6: James

Chapter 7: Beth

Chapter 8: James

Chapter 9: Beth

Chapter 10: James

Chapter 11: Beth

Chapter 12: James

Chapter 13: Beth

Part Four: Letters From Afghanistan

Chapter 14: Beth

Chapter 15: James

Chapter 16: James

Chapter 17: Beth

Chapter 18: James

Chapter 19: Beth

Chapter 20: James

Chapter 21: Beth

Chapter 22: James

Chapter 23: James

Chapter 24: Beth

Epilogue

A Conversation with Mark Schultz

Prologue

THE LAST LETTER

The soldier wrestles to write words he knows will be his last.

He searches his heart, trying to find what he wants to say. After so many letters, this one needs to count.

This one needs to last.

There is no one definitive sentence or theme he needs to write. Yet he wants his family to know that he will always be there, that he will always love them.

Just because he is gone doesn't mean he has left them.

There is so much he wants to say. Things to share. About the places he's seen, the journey he's been on, the road he's headed toward. The pride in his heart for serving his country.

He knows the world is full of bad places filled with
bad men. He remembers his father telling him that. He remembers that was one of the reasons he decided to join the army.

Yet even in a world like this, there is hope. Hope is not confined to Tennessee or the United States of America. Hope can be found in the darkest of spots, in the prisons of people's souls.

He thinks of her face and smiles.

He loves her and wants the best for her. He can only imagine how many times she's prayed for his safety, a safety that won't hold.

Maybe God one day will tell her the reasons why.

Maybe God will fill her with renewed hope once he's gone.

He starts writing.

In a world full of endless rhetoric, he tries to convey a simple and eloquent truth.

I'm not writing to say good-bye. I'm writing to make a promise.

So he does.

Part One

BOOK: Letters from War
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