Mark's an ex-soldier, living his quiet life as an explosives consultant. He's got a wife, and a baby on the way, though, and a promotion he was counting on has been downsized out of existence.
He takes a short-term assignment "consulting" on explosives for the CIA in a little Southeast Asian country called Qualnom.
It's just two weeks. And although there's a war there, he's assured it's "a joke," too minor to matter.
But of course, he's going there to blow something up.
The acquaintance who connected him with the job shows him a tattoo he has on his arm, of a dragon, that he says he really saw the last time he was in Qualnom.
They're nearly done, and waiting on their pickup, when Mark sees a small boy, hurt, and way too close to the thing they're going to blow up, from the helicopter, when they're in the air.
What has been a relatively ordinary, if hot and humid, assignment, suddenly becomes very strange.
The war is apparently the doing of twin boys, one of whom speaks, and the other of whom has magical powers and commands a dragon.
There's nothing terrible about this. The art is okay. The story is okay. The characters are a bit cardboard. It's a decent enough read.
I see no reason for it to be on the Hugo Finalists list.
Not especially recommended, but not recommended against, either.
I received this as part of the 2016 Hugo voters' packet.