Published Jan 2012
January, 1916, and the rooftops of Leeds creak with the weight of the winter’s snows. William Redmond, soon to join the Chapeltown Rifles, wanders with his younger brother Samuel through the old haunts of their childhood – and, there, at the top of the Moor across which they are forbidden to walk, Samuel, for too long trapped in his brother’s shadow, stoves William’s head in with a stone. When William wakes, it is a different world through which he walks. His brother has vanished, the town is silent, and not a man among them will give up the secret of where he has gone. On the other side of the water, the fields of France and Belgium are torn apart by war – and, when William discovers that Samuel has been sent to the war in his stead as punishment for what he did upon the Moor, he resolves to go out there and bring him back, to put right what his family has done wrong. This will not be revenge; this will be forgiveness. And so, with the fresh wound of Samuel’s attack still screaming at the back of his head, William ventures into the hell of Flanders – a mire of death and disease and deserters – to bring back alive the brother who wanted him dead.
Powerful and atmospheric, this is a highly promising first novel.