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2019 Winner, Military Fiction, Independent Press Awards
2019 Gold Medal Winner, Historical Fiction, Military Writers Society of America
2019 Finalist, Military Fiction, American Fiction Awards
This harrowing journey through World War I begins aboard the RMS Lusitania and ends on the edge of the world.
For the Scots-American McReynolds brothers, World War I began with a German torpedo that slammed into the Lusitania. Despite frantic rescue efforts, they watch their family drown in front of their eyes. Having escaped the doomed ship in frigid waters off Ireland, they are rescued by four young Irishmen and together they vow to strike back in the war that was cutting a bloody swath through Europe in 1915. Searching for a unit that was bound to see action, they enlist with the vaunted Seaforth Highlanders, a Scottish regiment with a fearsome reputation.
Soon they are tossed into the bloody cauldron of Gallipoli, where they must learn to fight and struggle to survive in one of the most ill-conceived and brutal campaigns of the war. Under a baking Aegean sun, surrounded by dead and maimed comrades, and facing a brutal and determined enemy sworn to Jihad, the brothers discover crucial differences in their reactions to the carnage of infantry combat. In the reeking, bloody trenches of Gallipoli, war becomes a very ugly school—where few live long enough to graduate.
“From the sinking of the Lusitania to the battlefield cauldron of Gallipoli, RJ MacDonald weaves an action-packed story that leaves the reader breathless.” Military Writers Society of America
“To fans of the genre of military fiction, RJ MacDonald’s, ‘A Distant Field’ might well be the book of the year." World War Media
“… the battle sequences are both horrifying and exciting. This is a well-written novel, and if you are a collector of books on the First World War, I suggest you add this novel to your collection.” Historical Novel Society
“It’s straight in at the deep end, as it opens with two brothers and their family on board the Lusitania when it gets torpedoed. This is breathless stuff… It’s all well written and a good yarn…” Militaria & History: The Armourer Magazine
“RJ MacDonald's writing is vivid and gripping. Excellent historical fiction.” Professor Jonathan P. Roth, San Jose State University, Director, Burdick Military History Project
“His mastery of descriptive art is reminiscent of some of John Steinbeck’s stories..." Professor Hal Elliott, Weber State University and Scots American Military Society
“...a very compelling story... attention to detail sentence-for-sentence is stunning, and really builds the world while leaving the reader enough to imagine with." Cornerstones LC