The death, devastation and disarray of war is brought to life in this 1989 novel. The 178,500-word epic is similar to Herman Wouk’s Winds of War and Ken Follett’s Century Trilogy (Fall of Giants, Winter of the World and the Edge of Eternity).
The centrepiece is that amazing achievement that was the British evacuation of Dunkirk. The story set between August 1939 and just after Dunkirk. Central to the story is a love triangle of French woman Simone, her husband, Griff Wilmot and his closest friend Archie Trendle-Home.
When Griff sees Simone and Archie together, the trio’s world – and love – changes forever. Griff enlists when war starts. Archie, an officer in the Navy leaves to battle the Nazis and Simone is left behind with her conflicting emotions.
The middle of the book takes the reader to Belgium and France where the respective countries vain struggle to resist the Nazi war machine is exposed in graphic and compelling detail.
The action isn’t limited to the battlefield. Gidley takes us behind the closed doors of meetings of generals and prime ministers.
The climax comes with Dunkirk. Gidley has a British bias but that doesn’t detract from the tense treatise of the horror of war and its impact on ordinary people.