Friday, 12 September 2014

HISTORICAL FICTION REVIEW: The Shadow of War - Stewart Binns

Release Date: 17/07/14
Publisher:  Michael Joseph


The Shadow of War is the first novel in Stewart Binns' new series which will see a book release for each year of the First World War. June 1914. The beginning of another long, prosperous summer for Britain. But beneath the clear skies, all is not as it seem - as the chill wind of social discontent swirls around this sceptred isle. Shots ring out in a distant European land - the assassination of a foreign aristocrat. From that moment the entire world is propelled into a conflict unlike any seen before. This is the story of five British communities, their circumstances very different, but who will all share in the tragedy that is to come. All that they have known will be changed for ever by the catastrophic events of the Great War. This is a story of love and comradeship, of hatred and tragedy - this is the story of the Great War. The Shadow of War, the first novel in The Great War series from Stewart Binns, is a thrilling read and perfect for those who enjoy the writing of Conn Iggulden and Bernard Cornwell. Praise for Stewart Binns: "Anyone with even a vague interest in Britain and the Great War should read Shadow of War". (Celia Sandys, granddaughter of Winston Churchill). "A fascinating mix of fact, legend and fiction ...this is storytelling at its best". (Daily Mail). "Stewart Binns has produced a real page-turner, a truly stunning adventure story". (Alastair Campbell). Stewart Binns began his professional life as an academic. He then pursued several adventures, including a stint at the BBC, before settling into a career as a schoolteacher, specializing in history. Later in life a lucky break took him back to the BBC, which was the beginning of a successful career in television. He has won a BAFTA, a Grierson, an RTS and a Peabody for his documentaries. Stewart's passion is English history especially its origins and folklore. His previous Making of England series: Crusade, Conquest, Anarchy and Lionheart, were published to great acclaim.


Whenever you tend to read information from the first world war, it tends to be either a dry historians voice or the point of view of the generals who in my own personal opinion treated those on the front line not as men or people but numbers, legitimate losses in their search for glory.

So for me, I like to read about the real soldiers, those who were on the front lines facing the dangers. Stewart’s book is wonderfully written, the research bringing the real men to life, from the home front to the front line, the reader cares about those they’re reading about and with a time that is faded along with the generation that fought it, it needs to be brought again into the light so that people can not only understand the sacrifices that were made on both sides but see the men as they were, tall, brave and fighting for their nations.

All round, it was a very harrowing book, the battlefields brutal but for me, it’s the comraderie of those in the trenches that made this book stand out and for me, a book I am more than pleased I read. This is a WW1 fiction that needs to be read.

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