Sunday, April 08, 2007

At Some Disputed Barricade

by Anne Perry
This is book 4 in Perry's excellent World War I historical fiction/mystery series. The year is 1917. Joseph Reavley, a chaplain, and his sister, Judith, an ambulance driver, are bone-weary as they approach the fourth year of the conflict. On the Western Front, the Battle of Passchendale has begun, and among the many fatalities from Joseph's regiment is the trusted commanding officer, who is replaced by a young major whose pompous incompetence virtually guarantees that many good soldiers will die needlessly. Soon he dies, too, but not from enemy fire, but by one of his own men. Joseph would like to turn a blind eye, but he cannot. In fact, he is charged with tracking his escaped comrades through Switzerland and return them to the front where they will have to stand trial.

Matthew Reavley is continuing his work in the Secret Intelligence Service and is in London trying to uncover the identity of the Peacemaker - an obsessed genius who has committed murder and treason in an attempt to stop Britain from winning the war.

One quote: If we have any right to claim that we fight for civilized values, a way of life acceptable to man and God, then we do not look away from the truth because it is not what we wish it to be or find comfortable to deal with.

So much of the tension in these novels comes from the clash between the atrocities of war and personal attempts at integrity and honor. These men were living in situations not even imagined in their worst nightmares. Joseph described the French trenches as a blood-soaked gateway to hell. Some of these men spent over 3 years in this hell, mindlessly killing the enemy who they knew were good, kind men with families of their own. They jumped up and over the sides those trenches day after day, watching their lifetime buddies falling around them and wondering if this was the day they would die.

With war as the backdrop, Perry's characters are challenged with decisions of honor, with questions of Gods existence, with the value of one life over another.

This book was released in March 2007. The last and final book comes out on Apr 10 - just one month later. I think that is very kind for those of us who are so anxious.

I actually read finished this book several days ago, but have been busy with family, so I'm a little slow in getting it posted.


jenclair said...

I know; I still have one review to write that I finished the other day.

I've read quite a few of Perry's Victorian mysteries -those with Inspector Pitt and Charlotte,and the ones with William Monk and Hester, but haven't read any of the ones she's written about WWI.

She has fascinated me for years, especially with her own background. I remember hearing about it when I first read her novels and later watched the movie Heavenly Creatures that was based on Perry's own story.

Booklogged said...

Her story is fascinating and sad. I understand the movie Heavenly Creatures tried to make it took like there was a lesbian thing going on, which Perry denied. She does write well and has made a good life for herself.

Anonymous said...

I've never read this book or any by Anne Perry. I'll have to look into these.

It's nice that the books were published close to each other. I hate reading a book in a series, then have to wait another year for the next one. I wish the author could write as quickly as I read. Janet Evanovich - are you listening???

CJ said...

I'm a huge fan of Anne Perry's Thomas and Charlotte Pitt books and her Monk series but I haven't read this series. I picked up the first one when it came out but my mother was in the hospital and I didn't get it read.

Anyway, have you read any of her other books? If so, does this series compare favorably with them?

I appreciate the review and the additional information, if you have any to pass on.


Booklogged said...

Lynne, yes it is nice to have the next book come out so soon. The fist ones didn't come out so close together.

CJ, I have read most of the Monk series and a few of the Pitt series. I think Perry's WWI series is her best. She's one of my favorite authors.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review--I went out and bought the first WWI novel. I have only read her Inspector Pitt novels (some not all of them). This one looks quite good!