A Good Read Revisited - a novel selected for UK Armistice Day
"Reeman wrote with natural style. In every scene there are vivid portrayals of life and love, death and tragedy, of hope, glory, fear, desperation... the depiction of Reality, with a capital 'R'. Stories about ordinary people doing extraordinary things."
Family Saga / Nautical
Blackwood saga #3
"1914-1918.For three generations, members of the Blackwood family served the Royal Marines with distinction. With the outbreak of World War I, at last comes Jonathan Blackwood's turn to carry the family name into battle. But as the young marines embark for the Dardanelles, and a new kind of warfare, it dawns on them that the days of scarlet coats and an unchanging tradition of honour and glory have gone forever. First in Gallipoli, and two years later at Flanders, comes their horrifying initiation into a wholesale slaughter for which no training could ever have prepared them. Caught up in the savagery of a conflict beyond any officer's control, Blackwood's future rests on the 'horizon' - the dark lip of the trench which was the last fateful sight for so many."
I have read all of Mr Reeman's 'Bolitho' novels, which he wrote under the name of Alexander Kent, but not being a 'World War' fan I'd not explored his wartime stories. I have obviously very much missed out on some marvellous books!
Reeman wrote with natural style (alas he is no longer with us, a great loss to the literary world, and his fans). In every scene there are vivid portrayals of life and love, death and tragedy, of hope, glory, fear, desperation... the depiction of Reality, with a capital 'R', about ordinary people doing extraordinary things, and yet, Douglas Reeman had the gift of detailing a scene without being gratuitous, be it regarding the horrors and violence of war, language or sex. He convinces with natural ease; an author, a gentleman, who wrote with knowledge and passion but a writer who could convey exactly what was happening where, why and how, without resorting to gore, titillation or deliberate sensationalism.
Above all Reeman, with incredible sensitivity, brings out the pride of these people who fought for their country and for what they believed in. Yes, they are fictional characters, but they are all based on the Tom, Dick and Harrys who fought and lived or died during the two wars, all the more poignant in this particular story for the tragedies of WWI, outside of the more well known Trenches of Ypres, Flanders, and maybe Gallipoli, are all but now forgotten.
All of which put together make for one heck of a cracking good read.
© Helen Hollick
Please do visit two relevant posts today as part of Kimberley Jordan Reeman's online tour.
Kim is Douglas's widow.
Kim Reeman: "Still" and "Carry On"
Helen Hollick: The Horizon