The Suicide Club by Andrew Williams (Hodder & Stoughton)
THE never-ending slaughter of the First World War is the backdrop for this novel but mainly seen through the eyes of those involved in the murky world of the spy.
The central character is Alexander Innes, a captain wounded at the Somme, and now working with the resistance in Belgium.
He is called back to London for a briefing and then dispatched to just behind the front line to Field-Marshall Haig’s army headquarters in France.
Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan (Vintage)
THE horrors of life in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp during the Second World War are graphically explored in this novel.
But a parallel story-line also traces Australian army surgeon Dorrigo Evans’ love affair with his uncle’s wife back in Aussie and his luke-warm relationship with his own wife Ella.
Evans is a complex character, hailed after the war as a hero, but a serial adulterer consumed by self-loathing.
The author’s father survived the Burma death railway, and the atrocities imposed by the Japanese on Australian soldiers are described in great detail.
The Silence of Ghosts by Jonathan Aycliffe (Corsair)
IF you love a good ghost story, this book is a real treat. It has all the classic ingredients, a spooky house, things which go bump in the night, and a remote isolated setting in the Lake District.
Dominic Lancaster has been badly injured serving in the Navy during the Second World War, having a leg amputated as a result. When the Blitz makes life in London dangerous, his wealthy family send him off to the family summer home in the Lakes, along with his partially deaf young sister Octavia.
The Children Act by Ian McEwan (Vintage Books)
by Patrick O’Connor
SOME may consider that with the world the way it is at the moment, staying clear of any debate involving religion may be considered wise.
But the acclaimed British author Ian McEwan has never been one for shying away from difficult subjects.