Top positive review
A must read!
Reviewed in the United States on April 24, 2012
Stephen Dando-Collins is a top class author. He does his research well, writes superbly and all his books are riveting reading. I believe this novel is perhaps his best. It not only has all the hallmarks of a successful novel but, permeating each page one detects the presence of the author's heart and soul. After all, he is writing about his three great uncles who went to war and only one returned. In my opinion, as a retired high school teacher, this book, in time, will become compulsory reading for students in Australian schools.
The three Searle brothers, from the country town of Westbury, in Tasmania, left Australia in 1915 to fight in the Great War of 1915-1918. They were involved in serious fighting, from Gallipoli to Flanders, where two died and one returned home with distinguished service. Extensive research, especially via diaries, letters, poems and the memories from living descendents, is so well interwoven into the storyline that the novel comes to life and as readers we get to know the main characters personally and experience their trials and tribulations first hand.
The whole novel is an educational experience in its self both from a factual point of view but also from what ordinary soldiers must go through in the brutal circumstances that accompany war. The inclusion of family photographs adds dynamic realism to the whole story.