I chose “CONFLICT” by Eric Halpenny (RWISA Member) as my #RRBC June Book of The Month.
The Canadian army was widely viewed to be one of the finest fighting forces in WWI, acclaimed by friend and foe alike. However, historical figures and newspaper articles do little to illuminate the true nature of war. For that, one must see through the eyes of those that fought the war. One must stand in their shoes, sleep with their dreams, and shudder at their fears. This venture into the fictional lives of John and Greg attempts to offer that experience. Bound by friendship, these young warriors embark on a journey of trial and tragedy in Conflict, a 20th Century historical fiction. They face death, loss, and grief as compatriots fall in battle and hopes of glory die with them.
I don’t normally read war novels/short stories but I made an exception after I sneaked a peek in the look inside feature of Conflict on Amazon.
I loved how Eric Halpenny used quotes and/or poetry from Wilfred Owen, General Horace Smith-Dorrien, Major John McCrae, Sir Robert Borden, Kaiser Wilhelm II, memoirs of David Lloyd George, excerpts, war diary entries, military songs and letters from real and fictional soldiers in the novel, giving the narrative a very human feel.
This is a powerful WW1 short story about two fictional characters, Greg and John as they ‘leave boyhood and childishness, naivety and innocence, behind,’ to join with the brotherhood of men in war. Chronicling their heroic journey through the living hell of WW1. There are many aspects of the novel that moved me, thoughts expressed about: the young soldier’s naivety, the building of trust, endless suffering, (even the weather became an enemy,) patriotism, and the futility of war.
Greg’s experience of being haunted by a German that he killed at close quarters provides a stark, disturbing reminder that the enemy is human, has a face, a life, friends and family .
Conflict is an exceptionally riveting read, evoking strong emotions. I read it in one setting, in one morning.
The ending is so sad and so true to life. You will have to read Conflict to see what I mean!
Highly recommended for everyone! Even if you don’t normally read war novels/short stories.
My rating 4.5 stars.
Have you read Conflict? I’d love to hear your views on it if you have…
Link to Eric Halpenny’s blog: https://www.erichalpenny.com/books/
Link to: Eric Halpenny’s Amazon Page
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