This is a very entertaining historical novel set in and around the trenches of the Western Front during the First World War. The book follows a group of Shropshire volunteers from the pre-war period, through training, into combat in the trenches and beyond.
The main theme of the story is the apparent execution of one of the Shropshire Lads, the events that led up to it and its unexpected aftermath.
Parts of this book reminds me of John Buchan's wartime novels, combining its theme of the senselessness of the war and the impact it can have on the individual, with a classic adventure story involving a gang of revolutionaries and the British Secret Service.
This might not be the book for you if you prefer your First World War novels to be unremittingly grim portrayals of the trenches (or an admirer of the Bolshevik revolutionaries!), but otherwise it is a very entertaining read whose only flaw is that some parts could do with being a little longer. A highly recommended first novel.
A central theme of this book is shell shock, and so a percentage of the revenues are going to be donated to Combat Stress: the Ex-Services Mental Welfare Society and to the British Legion.
Author: Graham Holbrook
Publisher: GET Publishing