*A TIMES THRILLER OF THE MONTH*
'The world has been waiting for a worthy successor to Sebastian Faulks' Birdsong - now Philip Gray has delivered it' David Young, author of Stasi Child
THE GUNS ARE SILENT. THE DEAD ARE NOT.
1919. On the desolate battlefields of northern France, the guns of the Great War are silent. Special battalions now face the dangerous task of gathering up the dead for mass burial.
Captain Mackenzie, a survivor of the war, cannot yet bring himself to go home. First he must see that his fallen comrades are recovered and laid to rest. His task is upended when a gruesome discovery is made beneath the ruins of a German strongpoint.
Amy Vanneck's fiancé is one soldier lost amongst many, but she cannot accept that his body may never be found. She heads to France, determined to discover what became of the man she loved.
It soon becomes clear that what Mackenzie has uncovered is a war crime of inhuman savagery. As the dark truth leaches out, both he and Amy are drawn into the hunt for a psychopath, one for whom the atrocity at Two Storm Wood is not an end, but a beginning.
For fans of Ben MacIntyre, Munich by Robert Harris and Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith.
'Haunting, cinematic, and utterly gripping' D.B. John, author of Star of the North
'Atmospheric and meticulously researched... sheds light on the horrors and the trauma that continued even after the Armistice...a novel that informs while keeping you on the edge of your seat' Abir Mukherjee, author of The Shadows of Men
'Gray succeeds in entwining two powerful tales - a love story and a hate story - in a way that, right from the shocking start, is both convincing and enthralling' Virginia Baily, author of Sunday Times bestseller Early One Morning
Set largely in northern France a few months after the end of WWI, this uneven historical from British author Gray (Zoia's Gold, writing as Philip Sington) follows an affluent English woman on a quest to find her fianc , who went missing in action and is presumed dead. Amy Vanneck, who made a promise to choirmaster turned reluctant soldier Edward Haslam that she would bring him (or his body) home, travels to the trenches where Haslam was last seen in search of her lover. With British troops scouring the area attempting to identify the thousands of scattered corpses, Amy enters a virtual hell scape of death and destruction, where she discovers that her missing fianc was somehow connected to the murders of 13 men, all Chinese laborers. Flashbacks to the war heighten the tension, and the mystery of Haslam's whereabouts remains tantalizingly unclear until the very end. But the central character a sheltered woman who witnesses and experiences numerous atrocities alone strains the boundaries of believability, as does the unnecessary closing twist. Thriller fans will be disappointed.