Nicholas Irving’s latest book, “Way of the Reaper” made for some fantastic beach side reading this summer while I was on vacation. The 3rd Ranger Battalion veteran’s second book follows up from his first sniper memoir titled “The Reaper” which recounted numerous firefights between Rangers and the Taliban that Nick participated in.
The new book recounts further sniper exploits but also takes the reader to events prior to the first book before Nick became a sniper. Having served in the same unit, and performed the same jobs as Nick, I had a smile on my face while reading about his time as a Stryker driver and TC (Tank Commander also known as Tactical Commander). Cruising through the streets of Iraq in a eight wheeled Stryker vehicle while executing time-sensitive targets to capture and kill high ranking terrorists is an experience you have to see to believe. Nick did an incredible job capturing what it was like to be in a Ranger back in those days.
From there, we skip to later deployments to Afghanistan where Nick and his spotter, Mike Pemberton, work as direct action snipers. This role was relatively new to the sniper community during the War on Terror. As members of 3/75’s sniper section, Nick and Mike went out on target with Ranger assaulters, helping to contain the objective area with precision fire. As you can imagine, chaos and bedlam ensues on multiple objectives.
What was surprising about the book was Nick’s introspection. Throughout his deployments, and after engaging and killing the enemy, Nick is forced to confront himself with a question: “Am I a good man or a bad man?” The sensation creeps up on him while overseas but doesn’t not fully hit Nick until after the battle is over and he is back home.
Filled with detailed insights about the art and science of long range precision marksmanship, readers will learn how to lead a target, how to use the mil-dot reticle system, the right and wrong way to mount a scope, which firing positions are the most realistic, and other nuances that only someone with Nick’s real life combat experience can accurately describe.
Grab a beer and a cigar before picking up “Way of the Reaper” because once you start, it is likely that you’ll finish it in one sitting.