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â€œThe first casualty when war comes is truthâ€ so why send a conscientious objector detective out to the mud and horror of Ypres in 1917 to investigate a murder when sanctioned slaughter is all around you? An impossible, ridiculous situation and an interesting scenario of Mr Eltonâ€™s. This is powerful, fast, exciting and very different from previous works by Elton. Full of concealment, contradiction and disillusion, it is dark, depressing and very good indeed.
Comparison: For 1st World War Pat Barker, for Ben Elton satire Rupert Morgan, for detection Christopher Fowlerâ€™s Bryant and May series.
Similar this month: None.
Flanders, June 1917: a British officer and celebrated poet, is shot dead, killed not by German fire, but while recuperating from shell shock well behind the lines. A young English soldier is arrested and, although he protests his innocence, charged with his murder. Douglas Kingsley is a conscientious objector, previously a detective with the London police, now imprisoned for his beliefs. He is released and sent to France in order to secure a conviction. Forced to conduct his investigations amidst the hell of The Third Battle of Ypres, Kingsley soon discovers that both the evidence and the witnesses he needs are quite literally disappearing into the mud that surrounds him. Ben Elton's tenth novel is a gut-wrenching historical drama which explores some fundamental questions. What is murder? What is justice in the face of unimaginable daily slaughter? And where is the honour in saving a man from the gallows if he is only to be returned to die in a suicidal battle? As the gap between legally-sanctioned and illegal murder becomes evermore blurred, Kingsley quickly learns that the first casualty when war comes is truth.
|Publication date:||3rd May 2006|
|Publisher:||Black Swan an imprint of Transworld Publishers Ltd|
|Primary Genre||Historical fiction|
Closing date: 30/06/2021
Ben Elton’s career as both performer and writer encompasses some of the most memorable and incisive comedy of the past twenty years. In addition to his hugely influential work as a stand-up comic, he is the writer of such TV hits as The Young Ones, Blackadder and The Thin Blue Line. Elton has written three musicals, The Beautiful Game, We Will Rock You and Tonight’s the Night and three West End plays. His internationally bestselling novels include Popcorn, Inconceivable, Dead Famous and High Society.More About Ben Elton