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A brutally honest portrayal of the realities of war, this novel relays the story of fifteen-year-old Thomas Elkin as he engages in the First World War. A tale of conflict, both global and personal, and of redemption, this novel has the potential to rank alongside the best of retrospective First World War literature. Accepting the blame for the accidental death of his recently conscripted brother, Elkin switches identity with his dead sibling and enters into the fray of the conflict. His burning ambition is to die a glorious death in his brother’s name.
Believing that in fully submitting to the reality of war he is atoning for his sins, he faces all the attendant horrors with a steel will and a poignant resignation.
His personal conflict sees itself mirrored in the wider events and soon the two are inextricably linked raising issues of mortality, morality, guilt and faith. This novel enacts the kind of existential crises experienced on the battlefield with the constant threat of the imminent and fatal danger a companion.
Written with deft skill and sensitivity for the subject matter at hand, this is a piece of stylish work that places the reader at the heart of the action. Featuring nuanced characters and vivid action scenes, it works to evoke a real sense of the times as the story unfolds.
- Pen and Sword, January 2013
Pen and Sword
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