Today I am delighted to be sharing my review for The Glorious Dead by Tim Atkinson as part of the blog tour with Anne at Random Things Tours and Unbound Publishers. This is a book that is set after the end of WWI.
What happened when the Great War ended and the guns stopped firing? Who cleared the battlefields and buried the dead? It’s 1918 and the war may be over but Lance-Corporal Jack Patterson ad the men of his platoon are still knee-deep in Flanders mud, searching the battlefields for the remain of comrades killed in action. But duty isn’t all that’s keeping Jack in Flanders. For one there is Katia, the daughter of a local publican, with whom he has struck up a romance. And then there is something else, a secret that lies buried in Jack’s past, one he hopes isn’t about to be dug up.
Purchase link – Amazon UK
Well, this is a book that was a real eye-opener that’s for sure. I had never really thought about who took care of the bodies of the fallen during or after WWI or WWII come to that. I was aware of there being Red Cross and Ambulance crews but that was as far as it went. Who was responsible for taking those bodies to their final resting place, in this case, a huge memorial cemetery in Belgium.
The story follows Jack and his group who remain in Belgium after the end of the war. While others have returned home, they remain. Disgruntled is a term that seems appropriate for their mood. It was interesting to read of the conditions the men had to work in not nice at all. The descriptions are of how bodies are found, identified and then managed.
Another thing that I found interesting was how those who died were interred against family wishes. Many wanted their loved ones to be repatriated to their home soil so they could be grieved over, to be visited and remembered. Many families never visited the final resting place of their loved one and knew they knew they would never be able to for various reasons.
The political and personal feelings expressed are woven around Jack, his story and of those he works with gradually emerges. It has a sense of camaraderie and also the wish for most of them to go home. Not all want to return home, stories of returning soldiers with no jobs, no home and living rough are emerging.
A story that took me to a horrific and brutal point in history. As I mentioned at the beginning a real eye-opener. While the story of Jack and his group was good, they actually became secondary for me in this story.
One I think readers of historical fiction would really like and one I would recommend.
About the Author:
Tim Atkinson is a teacher, author and award-winning blogger. He studied philosophy at the University of Hull and has worked variously as a filing clerk, lay-clerk, chain-man and schoolteacher. He was born in Colchester, brought up in Yorkshire and now lives in Lincolnshire.
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