I’m honoured to be hosting today’s stop on the blog tour for The Glorious Dead by Tim Atkinson. Described as ‘a story of love, war and betrayal among the ruins of Ypres’, it’s due to be published on 1st November.
My grateful thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the tour and for my review copy.
About the Book
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 and the men of his platoon are still knee-deep in Flanders mud, searching the battlefields for the remains 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…
Praise for The Glorious Dead
‘An interesting read on an almost forgotten aspect of the First World War.’ [Martin Middlebrook, author of The First Day on the Somme]
‘A powerful subject tackled with energy and skill’ [Ian McMillan]
‘Tim Atkinson highlights the monumental effort made to ensure the memory and sacrifice of those who died in the First World War was not forgotten’ [Colonel Iain Standen, CEO of Bletchley Park Trust]
Format: Hardcover, ebook (400 pp.) Publisher: Unbound
Published: 1st November 2018 Genre: Historical Fiction
Find The Glorious Dead on Goodreads
The Glorious Dead explores the legacy of war, not only through its focus on the gruesome work of Jack and his comrades but also in terms of the impact on the landscape and on the people who once lived and worked on land now transformed into contaminated battlefields or requisitioned for use as military cemeteries. It exposes the competing views of those who advocated memorialising the destruction and those who advocated creating new things from the ruins of the old. In addition, it makes clear the physical and psychological toll of the work of men like Jack and his platoon – ‘the foul and lingering taste of death and decay’ – not to mention the very real dangers they faced as they search battlefields potentially still hiding unexploded ordinance.
Interspersed with the story of Jack Patterson and his comrades are fragments of songs and excerpts from military reports, reminding me of another book I read recently – The Black Prince by Adam Roberts – that uses a similar ‘narrative collage’ technique.
As the book progresses, it becomes clear that not everyone has acted as honourably as the multitude of brave soldiers interred in the cemeteries. And Jack has secrets of his own, the nature of which haunt his dreams. The book also contains a walk-on part for a famous author who is undertaking a very personal search, the story of which was recently adapted into a film. And it covers a very special task that has an important place to this day in the UK’s remembrance of the First World War.
Because of the subject matter, I’d be lying if I said this was an easy read. However, importantly, The Glorious Dead sheds light on the dark legacy of war but also on the efforts of many dedicated individuals to honour the fallen, continued to this day through the work of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The book is a timely reminder of the horror of war and its lasting impact on nations and individuals as we approach Remembrance Day.
I received an advance review copy courtesy of publishers, Unbound, and Random Things Tours.
In three words: Moving, dark, compelling
Try something similar…Memoirs of an Infantry Officer by Siegfried Sassoon
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 school teacher. He was born in Colchester, brought up in Yorkshire and now lives in Lincolnshire.
Connect with Tim