When we first meet Calli Coleman, a classically trained musician from a well-connected Baltimore family, it is the summer of 2005 and the United States has been at war in Iraq for two years. She has been uprooted from the hometown she adores and abruptly lands in the role of Army wife in provincial Sackets Harbor, New York outside of Fort Drum. Naïve to all things military, Calli has no idea what’s in store for her when Luke’s infantry unit deploys to the Iraq War to an area CNN dubs “The Triangle of Death”. Left back in New York with their three-year-old daughter Audrey, black Labrador Satchmo, and a fat cat named Charlemagne, Calli has a steep learning curve as she tumbles into a complicated social hierarchy where she finds her well-heeled childhood does her more harm than good. Desperately missing her friends and family and amid the impertinent Army wives, unlikely friendships evolve with Josie, Rachel, and Daphne. Seemingly as different from one another as can be, and certainly unlike her dynamic, jet-setting best friend Eula, these women will nonetheless come together for courage, support, and to embark upon the deeply emotional roller coaster ride of being an Army wife.
With only letters and email as their communication, Calli knows very little about Luke’s mission in Iraq. Through their letters we get a beautiful picture of their love for each other and what it means to serve our Nation but Luke cannot share much about the confidential assignment. The news on the radio and television is never good. Calli dreads the phone ringing to tell her of more soldiers being blown up by IEDs or killed by gunfire and she fears “The Trifecta” - the casualty assistance officer, rear-detachment office, and chaplain – will be sitting in her driveway waiting to tell her the worst news she can imagine. In Luke’s absence, Calli, alone with her daughter, learns that if anything is worth fighting for, it’s the unpredictable new friendships that will sustain her through loneliness and the ever-present specter of widowhood. At the end Calli will find herself on an unexpected course full of epiphanies about herself and her marriage.
The Immortals is an emotional examination of marriage, friendship, war, and death. Tori Eversmann, through her distinctive voice that comes from her own time as an Army wife, has given us an unforgettable story.