Enjoy 3 wartime novels from the new Imperial War Museum Classics collection, as chosen by William Boyd in issue 25 of Radio Times.
Patrol by Fred Majdalany
1943, the North African desert. Major Tim Sheldon, exhausted and battle weary, is asked to carry out a futile and unexpected patrol mission. This intimate, tense novel puts this so-called minor mission centre stage, as over the course of the day Sheldon reminisces about his time as a soldier, his own future, and what it means to confront fear.
Trial by Battle by David Piper
October 1941. Twenty-one-year-old Alan Mart is posted to India and taken under the wing of the dogmatic, overbearing Acting-Captain Sam Holl. Following the Japanese advance on Singapore, the men are deployed to Malaya. What follows is a quietly shattering and searingly authentic depiction of the claustrophobia of jungle warfare and the indiscriminate nature of conflict.
Based on David Piper's own wartime experience in South East Asia, this new edition of a 1959 classic includes a contextual introduction from IWM which sheds new light on the dramatic true events that so influenced its author.
Plenty Under the Counter by Kathleen Hewitt
London, 1942. Flight-Lieutenant David Heron, home on convalescent leave, awakes to the news that a murder victim has been discovered in the garden of his boarding house. With a week until his service resumes, David sets out to solve the murder. Drawn into a world of mystery and double-dealing, he soon realises that there is more to the inhabitants of the boarding house than meets the eye, and that wartime London is a place where opportunism and the black market are able to thrive. Can he solve the mystery before his return to the skies?
Inspired by Kathleen Hewitt s own experience of wartime London, this new edition of a 1943 classic includes a contextual introduction from IWM which sheds light on the fascinating true events that so influenced its author.