Summary and book reviews of At Some Disputed Barricade by Anne Perry

At Some Disputed Barricade

A Novel

By Anne Perry

At Some Disputed Barricade
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  • Hardcover: Mar 2007,
    320 pages.
    Paperback: Mar 2008,
    320 pages.

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Book Summary

July 1917. Joseph Reavley, a chaplain, and his sister, Judith, an ambulance driver, are bone-weary as they approach the fourth year of the conflict; the peace of the English countryside seems a world away. On the Western Front, the Battle of Passchendaele has begun, and among the many fatalities from Joseph’s regiment is the trusted commanding officer, who is replaced by a young major whose pompous incompetence virtually guarantees that many good soldiers will die needlessly. But soon he, too, is dead–killed by his own men. Although Joseph would like to turn a blind eye, he knows that he must not. Judith, however, anguished at the prospect of courts-martial and executions for the twelve men arrested for the crime, has no such inhibitions and, risking of her own life, helps all but one of the prisoners to escape.

Back in England, Joseph and Judith’s brother, Matthew, continues his desperate pursuit to unmask the sinister figure known as the Peacemaker–an obsessed genius who has committed murder and treason in an attempt to stop Britain from winning the war. As Matthew trails the Peacemaker, Joseph tracks his comrades through Switzerland and into enemy territory. His search will lead to a reckoning pitting courage and honor against the blind machinery of military justice.

At Some Disputed Barricade is an Anne Perry masterpiece–brilliant, surprising, and unforgettable.

ONE

The sun was sinking low over the waste of no-man's-land when Barshey Gee staggered up the trench, his arms flying, his boots clattering on the duckboards. His face was ashen and streaked with mud and sweat.

"Chaplain! Snowy's gone!" he cried, bumping into the earthen wall and stopping in front of Joseph. "Oi think he's gone over the top!" His voice was hoarse with helplessness and despair.

That morning Snowy Nunn had seen his elder brother sawn in half by machine gun fire in yet another pointless attack. It was now late July 1917, and this mid-Cambridgeshire regiment had been bogged down on this same stretch of ruined land between Pyres and Passchendaele since the beginning, those far-off days of courage and hope when they had imagined it would all be over by Christmas.

Now mutilation and death were everyday occurrences. The earth stank of three years' worth of latrines, poison gas, and corpses. But it was still different to see the brother you had grown up with reduced to ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse

If you enjoy thrillingly written mysteries set against a strong backbone of historical events you'll find much to appreciate in Perry's series.   (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

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Publishers Weekly

Exposition slows down the pace in places, but the author vividly captures the unspeakable horrors of the Great War.

Booklist - Joanne Wilkinson

Perry explores the shifting nature of loyalty, conscience, and honor when set against the backdrop of a blood-soaked battlefield, and her grisly descriptions of that battlefield are heartrending.

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Beyond the Book

Only a handful of WWI veterans remain alive. Henry Allingham (born June 6, 1896) is not only the oldest surviving founding member of the RAF and the oldest surviving British veteran overall, he is also believed to be the oldest man in Europe*. He's still active - just last month, at the age of 111, he took part in the RAF' 90th year celebration. He credits his longevity to "cigarettes, whisky and wild, wild women — and a good sense of humour". Frank Woodruff ...

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