Imagine discovering a family secret. My great uncle, Charles Love Crockett, a lieutenant in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, was shot in contentious circumstances during the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin. Charles was rarely spoken of, as if his death was too unpalatable to digest or acknowledge. His untimely passing is the inspiration for this novel.
Imagine being a teenager thrust into the horrors of trench warfare in Flanders Fields. Tens of thousands of boys lied about their age to enlist, often with the connivance of recruiters. Such a boy is William Callaghan, a timid teenager who is conned into joining the British Expeditionary Force in 1915. William likes nothing more than to read books but he is betrayed by an older alcoholic brother, who has returned from the Front a broken man. William ends up, very reluctantly, in uniform.
Hardened in battle and matured by an intimate relationship with a French maid, he is transformed into a self-confident leader of men. William triumphs over adversity and deceit. He discovers his brother’s treachery. Many beliefs, once blindly held dear, are exposed as untruths. War changes William for the better and he emerges from the shackles of bigotry, a free enlightened man.