1937. War threatens at the very shores of home when Billy meets Kenneth, his devious cousin. A fateful rivalry begins...
"A powerful and compelling narrative with strong and relatable characters. (It) offers an evocative portrayal of England's war-time home front," Harper Collins.
"... thoroughly enjoyed the book. The research is meticulously done with convincing historical detail..." Historical Novel Society.
Billy's excitement at having a playmate is soon dashed when frail and artistic Kenneth proves to be hideously devious. Uncle Frank is an outright bully and all the adults love Kenneth's porcelain looks, not his darker soul.
The emotions that enable Hitler's rise - envy over strength, desire for new territory - now ferment in the Wilson home.
Billy imagines he has power from a precious Cossack sabre he's secretly seen. As Kenneth sets out to invade Billy's emotional space the sabre becomes an icon. It sustains Billy through bullying, separation and evacuation, but is it destined to damage as well as protect?
This tale of rivalry mirrors the conflict in Europe as WW2 is born.
"Every character in the novel comes to life under Minett's insightful prose. . ." Casee Clow, USA
It made me wonder about some distant cousins that were in London during the war.