A Quiet Cadence

A Novel

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James Webb Award for Distinguished Fiction (Marine Corps Heritage Foundation)

Military Writers Association Gold Medal Award for Historical Fiction

Winner of William E. Colby Military Writers' Award

Winner of W.Y. Boyd Literary Award for Excellence in Military Fiction

Sometimes it takes years for a combat vet to understand what war did to him when he was nineteen. With the perception and reflection of a man on the cusp of retirement from a career teaching high school kids, Marty McClure recalls the relentless intensity of prolonged combat as a teenaged Marine machine gunner facing booby traps and battles in a war with few boundaries.

Family and friends know Marty as a kind, peaceful man. They aren’t aware that when he was young, he plumbed the depths of terror, hatred, and despair with no assurance he’d ever surface again. Now he needs to reveal what happened in Vietnam and how, with the help of Patti, his wife, Corrie Corrigan, a disabled vet, and Doc Matheson, a corpsman turned trauma surgeon, he works to become a good husband, father, and teacher while he fights to bury the war. Only if he accepts help from his wife and his friends will he find real peace.

About the Author

Editorial Reviews

“Vivid, haunting, and moving. Mark Treanor’s eloquent, captivating novel provides a searing account of the experiences of and relationships between those who serve together in intense ground combat – and it conveys powerfully the difficult, wrenching adjustment to life back in ‘the world’ after being part of the ‘brotherhood of the close fight’ and surviving to make it home. A Quiet Cadence is a masterful, evocative book.” Gen. David Petraeus, USA (Ret.), former Commander of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), the Multinational Force in Iraq, US Central Command, and the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan
“Mark Treanor has written an extraordinary story about the Vietnam War in 1969 on a par with Matterhorn and Fields of Fire. The narrative follows PFC Marty McClure, USMC during the war in fierce and brutal ground combat, which is compelling. What is then unique is Mark’s telling of life after combat and the Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) that accrues to every single individual who has ever been in a firefight. We are far behind in addressing PTS issues for our combat veterans. Mark’s incisive writing does a great deal to illuminate its reality and the urgent need to address it. Please read this book. You won’t be able to put it down.” —Adm. Mike Mullen, USN (Ret.) 17th Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff
“A must-read book for any American who wants to understand war and its impact on those we send into close combat. Mark Treanor sets the standard for an authentic description of combat and what our infantry veterans carry with them when they return home. Savage yet compassionate, A Quiet Cadence will take its place as one of our most telling narratives of war and its aftermath.” —Jim Mattis, General, U.S. Marines (Ret.)
“A riveting look at what soldiers have experienced from Vietnam to Afghanistan. In A Quiet Cadence, they live through intense combat then return to civilian life to struggle with memories of dead or horribly wounded friends while successfully pursuing careers ranging from shopkeeper to surgeon. A story of resilience and recovery, this book brilliantly describes characters who struggle but nonetheless get on with their lives – like most veterans do.” —Jan C. Scruggs, Esq, Founder of Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Chairman National Selective Service Review Board, Army rifleman in Vietnam
“A compelling story, told with brutal realism but also deep compassion, of a young man's war in Vietnam and his years-long struggle after coming home to make peace with troubled memories and his grief for lost friends.” —Arnold R. Isaacs, journalist and author of Without Honor: Defeat in Vietnam and Cambodia
“This is an extraordinary, honest, and powerful novel. I was immediately captivated by it’s tone and pace, which carries the reader from the dark heart of the Vietnam combat experience to the harrowing challenges of returning home. On par with classic Vietnam era novels by James Webb and Karl Marlantes in its grit and truthfulness. Highly recommend!” —Adm. James Stavridis, USN (Ret.), Dean, The Fletcher School, Tufts University and Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander
A Quiet Cadence is a riveting account of a young Marine's combat experiences in Vietnam and the indelible effects in its aftermath. Mark Treanor brilliantly captures the physical and emotional trauma of close combat while masterfully weaving in timeless lessons about leadership, courage and camaraderie. Simply put, this is as relevant to veterans today as it was in the 60's.” —F. C. Wilson, Lt. Gen. USMC (Ret.) 12th President, National Defense University
“A great read. Few books move me to tears. This one did. For every combat veteran who has dealt with coming home, A Quiet Cadence makes it clear that you are not alone.” —Karl Marlantes, author of Matterhorn; What It Is Like To Go To War; and Deep River
“Stark and honest, A Quiet Cadence masterfully captures it all … from the individual courage, sacrifice and dedication, through the black humor, dread of combat, and fear of failure, to that special unbreakable human bond that stands the test of time. Powerful, it brought back many names and memories for me.” —General Mike Hagee, USMC, 33rd Commandant of the Marine Corps, A 1/1 Vietnam
“This is a powerful, unrelenting look at the experiences of a Marine serving at the height of the Vietnam War and the personal battles he continues to fight for decades after his return home. A Quiet Cadence is a major work of combat fiction. It has my full-throated recommendation.” –The VVA Veteran
A Quiet Cadence is the most powerful book on combat during the Vietnam War...” –Washington Independent Review of Books, Favorite Book of 2020
“Treanor’s first foray in novel writing succeeds in conveying to readers that veterans’ ears don’t stop ringing when the guns fall silent. We must care not only for ex-servicemen with broken bodies but also those with broken hearts.” —Fredericksburg.com
“Mark Treanor provides a riveting depiction of a young Marine's experience in Vietnam followed by the challenge of returning home in A Quiet Cadence. This Marine rifle platoon leader's description of the novel's characters and traumatic experiences felt in physical battle and in mental recovery at home are very touching.” —Semper Fi
A Quiet Cadence by Mark Treanor reveals a larger truth so commonly experienced by ordinary young men suddenly thrust into the caldron of war and then brought back into a civilian life that still carries with it the mental and emotional echos of the violence that was once their daily fare. A compelling read from cover to cover, A Quiet Cadence is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to personal reading lists, as well as community and academic library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections.” —Midwest Book Review
“This inspired treatment of a challenging chapter in U.S. history is worth a look.” —Publishers Weekly
“Mark Treanor provides the reader in this book with clear, concise, understandable pain, unmerciful suffering, and no easy check-off list on how to cope and be well....This book is a necessary read and should be required reading for military history, college literature classes and people wanting to appreciate how they can advocate for combat veterans.” —The Decatur Daily
“Mark Treanor has penned an instant classic of war fiction, one whose images do not go gently into that good night but force us to confront the searing psychological scars many former wartime soldiers suffer with silently. A must read.” —Historical Novel Society
“Mark Treanor has written a powerful novel of the Vietnam era…. A Quiet Cadence is told from the perspective of a young Marine, Marty McClure…. Treanor succeeds in drawing a character with whom we can empathize, while gently and thoughtfully navigating the tumultuous chapter of our country as seen through Marty’s eyes…. Veterans need an audience that listens, an audience of civilians who must seek to understand—simply thanking veterans for their service and moving on is also an abrogation of responsibility. But veterans also need an audience that is critical. Perhaps the solution lies in the title of Mark Treanor’s novel.” —Modern War Institute
“This book is recommended not just for those in uniform but also for everyone who votes, makes decisions affecting the military, or has any concern for those who do.” —DODReads
“Raw. Powerful. Penetrating. Unrelenting. These words keep coming back to me as I consider the experience of reading A Quiet Cadence by Mark Treanor. Though categorized as fiction, this book has the feel of reality, the ring of truth: raw, powerful, penetrating, unrelenting truth. Characters are drawn so vividly and precisely that I felt like I knew them. I laughed with them. I cried with them. I ruined some of the pages of the book with my tears…. From first page to last, I did not want to miss one sentence, one phrase, one word. The author crafted his story expertly and decisively. The quiet cadence of his words still echoes in my heart, and will for a long time to come.” —Military Writers Society of America
Winner of the 2021 William E. Colby Award “...a joy to read, a true page-turner with timeless themes about trauma and redemption, and with one hell of a powerful ending.” —Alex Kershaw, Colby Award selection committee chairman, historian, and bestselling author
—Winner: 2020 W.Y. Boyd Literary Award for Excellence in Military Fiction
“A remarkable book about moral and physical bravery that speaks to equally veterans of all wars. It will jolt memories, perhaps bring tears, but in the end help you understand why veterans hug each other.” —Marine Corps University Foundation
A Quiet Cadence consistently conveys the value and long-term benefit of being open and emotionally vulnerable to others. Treanor delicately presents the real face of post-traumatic stress without the sensationalizing embellishments characteristic of Hollywood's interpretations. This accurate portrayal makes tangible the elusive, unnamed emotions that so often inundate veterans returned from war. The value of Treanor's descriptive meaning-making is enormous to those unconversant with the counseling profession, enabling them to find a foothold and contextualize their ever-abrupt torrent of emotions.” —The Professional Counselor
—Military Writers Society of America Award Winner - Gold Medal in Historical Fiction
“A better written or more emotionally gripping novel than A Quiet Cadence is hard to find, but it's not for the faint of heart. Just reading it carries the force of being transported to the Vietnam War in 1969, as experienced by grunts on the ground.” —Leesburg Lifestyle
—2022 Eric Hoffer Book Award Commercial Fiction Category Finalist
A Quiet Cadence is by no means another watered down version of a Vietnam war story…. The writing and the character descriptions and developments are outstanding! You will quickly recognize the characteristics of the other Marines and Veterans you know or may have served with… Strongly recommended. Each veteran should add this to their reading list.” —AT EASE! Veterans Magazine