Pancho has experienced death more than anyone at his young age should, as his mother died when he was young, his father in an accident not too long ago and his sister, by a fatal dose of alcohol, which Pancho believes was intentional and is out to avenge her killer.
D.Q. knows that, for him, death is very close on the horizon. Struck by a crippling and seemingly incurable cancer, D.Q. begins writing a Death Warrior Manifesto, with the intent of living life to the fullest and always choosing life and love.
The Last Summer of the Death Warriors is the story of how these two young men are thrown together and learn to choose life in the midst of trying situations.
Francisco X. Stork definitely knows how to piece a character together. The true heart, soul, and struggles of Pancho and D.Q., as well as a few secondary characters, are beautifully revealed throughout this novel. Though it is slow-moving and a little wordy and dull at times, the author uses every situation and conversation to reveal the dynamics of each character. As the story takes place in New Mexico, most of the characters are Hispanic and I appreciated how the culture was a larger part of the story, but the focus of the novel was not on the characters ethnicity.
Through a wonderful blend of text and dialogue, the inner and outer turmoil we experience as humans facing an eventual death is revealed in this novel. The tone seemed rather dark most of the time, but the outcome is one of hope, love and the beauty of life.
Would I recommend this novel? Yes, if you are prepared for some serious thinking and pondering on the meaning of life.
The Last Summer of the Death Warriors
by Francisco X. Stork
Published by Arthur A. Levine