Hello Book Dragons! The Autumn is here!!! Tea, rain, warm blankets, I kind of missed it. Did you? 🙂 Today on the blog I have a guest post set during war. Enjoy! 🙂
Description of the book: January, 1918: Franz Becker, a high-scoring, decorated ace, rejoins his fighter squadron in Flanders. He has been fighting since October 1914, and is suffering badly from the strain of war. Imperial Germany is almost finished, strangled by the Allied blockade, its people starving. The country is running out of men and resources, but there is one last chance to win the war: Russia has made peace and the Americans have yet to arrive.
Franz and his fellow pilots know they have to fight on, no matter how outnumbered they are, otherwise the enemy will be in Germany. The Spring takes a heavy toll of the top aces, and Franz knows that it will soon be his turn to go to the Great Army. His close friend Karl von Leussow is at home in Brandenburg, on convalescent leave after being shot down and badly wounded the summer before. Franz misses him desperately, but believes Karl to be safe. He can only hope that they will meet again, “after the war”…whenever that may be.
Spring turns to Summer and every German offensive fails, with terrible casualties. The Allied aircraft are ever more numerous, the new pilots are barely out of school, and most die within a couple of weeks. The ranks of the Great Army continue to grow. How many more men will die before peace is made?
Guest Post: The Flowers of the Grass by N. L. Collier
The release of my latest book, To the Great Army, completes my quintet of First World War novels, The Flowers of the Grass. The series title comes from Brahms’s German Requiem: “For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of Man is as the flowers of the grass”.
The books tell the story of two young German students, Franz Becker and his friend Karl von Leussow, who volunteer in August 1914. Both are aged 19 but from very different backgrounds. Franz’s father is a successful lawyer, and for Franz the war is a chance for adventure, an escape from his safe middle-class life. Karl is from a noble Brandenburg family, which has supplied the Prussian Army with officers for generations. He’s dismayed by the outbreak of the conflict as he is only too aware that war kills and maims, but believes he must do his duty. Their fellow students are too full of enthusiasm to listen to Karl’s warning, but all too soon they find out what war is.
Franz becomes fascinated by the aircraft flying above the trenches, and transfers to the Air Service. Karl thinks Franz is mad – aircraft are flimsy and dangerous, and likely to crash even without being shot down. While Franz is learning to fly, Karl fights for his life at Verdun, in the longest battle of the Great War. The appalling carnage convinces him to join Franz in the air, and they fight on together as 1916 turns to 1918 and Imperial Germany’s struggle to survive becomes ever more desperate…
Telling their story has been a major part of my life for 25 years. Initially I based it around one week in January 1918, with much of their war told as flashbacks. After finishing it, I realised that it didn’t work, and rewrote it completely as a continuous narrative. It’s intended to be read in sequence, but I hope that anyone who starts with one of the later volumes will want to know how the characters got to that point, and what happens to them next!
Why I wrote it is hard to explain. I’ve always had a passion for the Great War, and especially for the German side. After the war, the victorious Allies blamed Imperial Germany for starting it, but the origins of the conflict are complex and still debated. What is certain is that the war was not caused by the men who had to fight it, nor by the families who were bereaved.
When the war began, men on both sides were convinced that their country was under attack and had to be defended, and huge numbers hurried to volunteer. Many never came home, and a lot of those who did were damaged in body, mind, or both. I have tried to give a voice to men who gave everything for their homeland, and who are no longer able to speak for themselves.
About the author: N. L. Collier was a professional pilot for 20 years and has a lifelong passionate interest in the Great War, especially the German side. To the Great Army is the fifth and final novel in the series The Flowers of the Grass.
Website: https://nlcollierauthor.com/home-2/ / Twitter: @NL_Collier
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