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Download The Knife Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Knife Audiobook, by Ross Ritchell Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ross Ritchell Narrator: Peter Ganim Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2015 ISBN: 9781481514446
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This powerful, dark, and morally provocative debut novel about a US Special Forces unit operating in Afghanistan reads like No Easy Day meets Redeployment.

It’s hot and getting hotter this summer in Afghanipakiraqistan—the preferred name for the ambiguous stretch of the world where the US Special Forces operate with little outside attention. Team leader Dutch Shaw is missing his late grandmother. She was the last link he had to civilian life, to any kind of world of innocence.

But there’s no time to mourn. After two helicopters in a sister squadron are shot down, Shaw and his team know that they’re going to be spun up and sent back in, deep into insurgent territory, where a mysterious new organization called al-Ayeelaa has been attracting high-value targets from across the region. As Shaw and his men fight their way closer to the source, mission by mission, they begin to realize that their way may have been prepared for them in advance—and not by a welcoming host.

The Knife is a debut novel of intense authenticity by a former soldier in a Special Operations Command direct-action team. As scenes of horseshoes and horseplay cut to dim Ambien-soaked trips in helicopters and beyond, Ritchell’s story takes us deep beneath the testosterone-laced patter and into the lonelier, more ambivalent world of military life in the Middle East. The result is a fast-paced journey into darkness, a quintessential novel of the American wars of the twenty-first century.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The most gripping and thought-provoking novel I’ve read this year, The Knife will enchant, move, and haunt its readers. Ross Ritchell’s gritty prose is stunning, and his painfully human characters linger in the mind. The Knife is a powerful mediation on war and man, told by a remarkably gifted novelist.”

    Michael Koryta, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Ross Ritchell’s The Knife…reminiscent of Tim O’Brien’s Vietnam novel, The Things They Carried…[is] the best novel yet about life at the point of the knife, in these times of overlapping foreign wars.”

    Alan Cheuse, NPR’s All Things Considered

  • “Ritchell offers you-are-there fiction about the fighting in what he has dubbed Afghanipakiraqistan.”

    Library Journal

  • “A vividly rendered military thriller.”


  • “An account of the long stretches of boredom and short bursts of adrenaline that make up a Ranger team’s deployment in Afghanistan…Draws the high drama and moral complexity of the Rangers’ life on the front lines from a place of narrative distance, allowing the reader to fill in the unstated emotions of Shaw and his team, giving their story great poignancy. A beautiful book about the soldiers who sit on the front lines of the US military machine.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • The Knife is intimate immersion in a squad of soldiers in a war zone. It is funny, disgusting, warm, and terrifying, by turns or all at once. It is beautiful. Honest. Heartbreaking.”

    Katherine Dunn, author of Geek Love

  • “Raw, authentic, and deeply moving, this is a stunning debut.”

    Rene Denfeld, author of The Enchanted

  • “Ross Ritchell has written a compellingly authentic debut novel. Its uniquely haunting effect arises in part from a dissonance between the clarity of its action and the immediacy of its telegraphic prose, and yet at the same time there’s a convincing sense of disassociation, a shadow of shocked, repressed emotion.”

    Stuart Dybek, author of The Coast of Chicago

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About the Author

Ross Ritchell is a former soldier in a United States Special Operations Command direct-action team conducting classified operations in the Middle East. Upon his discharge, he enrolled at Northwestern University, where he earned an MFA. He lives with his family in Illinois.

About the Narrator

Peter Ganim, an Earphones Award–winning narrator, is an American actor who has appeared on stage, on television, and in film. He has performed voice-over work since 1994.