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CHAIN OF DESTINY - Endorsements & Reviews

An edgy yarn from a fierce new voice.

W.E.B. Griffin

New York Times #1 best selling author




Chain of Destiny is one of the most intriguing historical novels to hit the bookstores since the Horatio Hornblower series. J.D. Lock captivates the reader with a compelling story in which a Ranger battalion task force finds itself decimated during the course of a raid against a compound with stolen nuclear devices defended by the Russian mafia, leaving a young but indomitable captain in charge of the remnants to complete an impossible mission.


Lock masterfully creates a nightmare scenario for any military leader, being thrust into a tactical disaster with global consequences. For Ranger Captain Nathaniel Ames, the responsibilities of command are daunting as cascading calamities threaten his dwindling force with annihilation.


The author does not disappoint. As in actual combat, there are no easy solutions, no miracles, and no cavalry to save the day. Lock’s tacit quip to the reader is this, “Never fear. It’s always darkest before things go completely black.” For Ames, darkness comes from the blast effects of a mortar round. When he awakens, he is on the battlefield of Chancellorsville in 1863 as a Confederate captain destined for the distant fields of Gettysburg and beyond.


The story becomes even more engaging at this point, especially with the introduction of Lieutenant Robert Wicker, Ames’ second in command. Who is he really, and what is his role in all of this? Wicker’s views on philosophy, science, and history are germane to Lock’s message, as historian John Toland once noted: “History does not repeat itself, human nature does.”


With laudable research, Lock introduces the reader to the world of Civil War soldiering—friction, fog of war, and ever present misery. These are the factors that produce great military failures and successes. For the soldiers, acutely aware of their ubiquity, sacrifice is the payment they make in support of the higher cause—win or lose.

Lock’s descriptions and interpretation of the events surrounding Little Round Top, the assassination of President Lincoln, and the cornering of John Wilkes Booth are masterful.  Ames desperately wrestles with his destined role in these events.  Can he, should he try to change the course of history, or is he an unwitting conspirator in their outcome?  The author provides a twist that quenches the inquisitive mind.


Yet, Ames’ duty is unfulfilled.  He is transported back to the Russian compound, regaining consciousness from the concussion of the mortar blast.  Ames recovers, adapts his plan, and leads his Rangers to success, perhaps with a little inspiration from his Civil War experiences.


Lock concludes the story with an epilogue, recognizing his fallen comrades at their memorial services and burials.  Ceremony and tradition are important to the military community.  He poignantly uses the West Point cemetery as the backdrop of the final memorial service, underscoring the contributions to nation rather than the ultimate sacrifice.  Here, Lock provokes meaning to military service.


Chain of Destiny is not simply an historical novel.  John Lock provides philosophical insights on leadership, duty, and courage.  His book would grace the bookshelves of historians, soldiers, and veterans alike.  Well done, Ranger.


Chain of Destiny

Association of Graduates

United States Military Academy, West Point



I received this book from J.D. and, at the time, was not in the mood to read. I review books for the Military Writers Society of America and  was “read out”, if you will. I, however, picked up the book and began to read the first chapter, “In the Cross Hairs”. After that I was hooked.  If there ever was a first chapter that could draw a reader in, this was it.


Thinking back to 911 as I read, the fictional President in his book said, after a devastating attack on our shores: “Our enemy will soon discover what it is like to have woken a sleeping giant…..I am inclined to believe they will not like it”.


The book is detailed military, military history, with sci-fi thrown into the kettle. I was completely immersed.  If I could write a screenplay, this book would be the first on my list. It is masterfully blended, intense and all consuming. I want the movie rights. Top honors from the Military Writers Society of America. Surely to be an award winner for 2008. Rangers lead the way!



Book Review of Chain of Destiny

Military Writers Society of America







5.0 out of 5 stars

Chain of Destiny November 24, 2009

By Melvin E. Clark

I highly recommend this novel.

JD Lock is a West Pointer, a US Army Ranger, a retired Lieutenant Colonel, and the author of three previous non-fiction volumes tracing the history and training of the American Rangers. "Chain of Destiny" is his first foray into fiction. And it's a success.

Lock's protagonist, Nathaniel Ames, is a modern day U.S. Army Ranger Captain; commander of an infantry company in the 75th Ranger Regiment. His unit deploys to capture and remove nuclear weapons from the hands of the Russian Mafia.

In the process, Captain Ames is injured and transported to 1863 and the American Civil War battlefield of Chancellorsville - the day after the battle. After a short convalescence he returns to duty an as infantry company commander, but in Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia.

His adventures and attempts to change history are a joy to follow. Along the way you get a taste of Civil War combat and a direct comparison with the modern Ranger experience.

The book is well worth the read. I was reluctant to put it down.



5.0 out of 5 stars

'JD Lock' ..a masterful story teller.. December 17, 2007

By Terry L. Decker


John D Lock sets (with this book) a example of how history can be used in fictional works without distorting or slanting the historical events.
If you are a fan of Scifi and or military history you should love this book.

It would make a excellent addition to the reading list of anyone studying the 'Civil War' and 'Gettysburg'.
If you want to get a child interested in reading and in history invest in this book (you'll both enjoy it).

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