The Recipient’s Son is a coming of age story set at the U.S. Naval Academy in the 1990’s By the author of Proximity, it tells the story of Donald Durago, a young man whose father was killed in the Vietnam War. For his heroic actions under fire his father was a recipient of the Medal of Honor. His father’s heroism also provides Durago with an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy, since it is as a benefit offered to children of Medal of Honor recipients. However, his father’s legacy also carries with it the burden of being worthy of his bravery, honor and sacrifice.
Durago struggles through his plebe year, and his poor performance leads to restriction over Christmas Leave. During this time, Master Chief Strong helps the young midshipman learn to identify with his father’s sacrifice, his naval heritage, and the challenges of Academy life. Under his guidance Durago grows into a model midshipman.
In the spring of his senior year, however, he is accused of harassment. Concerned that he will be kicked out of the Academy, Durago is forced to realize that he has not completely dealt with his father’s death, including nightmares of being a POW during times of stress. He leans on his roommate, James “Slim” Warren, and his budding relationship with JAG officer Lieutenant Junior Grade Jan Meyer.
The Recipient’s Son highlights all of the major facets and phases of life at the U.S. Naval Academy. Equally important, it forces the reader to consider questions about leadership, concepts of honor, and the balance between service and personal sacrifice. It is a story of a young naval officer’s coming to terms his legacy as the son of a celebrated war hero.
The Recipient’s Son is a stirring tale of a young man coming to grips with the heroism of his father and over coming his self-doubts to accept the challenge of serving his country on his own terms.