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    Review of SHOULDER THE SKY by Anne Perry (see her website)

    Ballantine Books, October 2004

    World War I has broken out despite the efforts of the 'peacemaker' to prevent it, but the peacemaker has not given up. If only England can be persuaded to abandon the horrible struggle, peace, in the form of German control over Europe and British control over the rest of the world, can be achieved.

    From the time the peacemaker killed their parents, siblings Joseph, Judith, and Matthew Reavley have tried to find his identity and undo his plans. Joseph is an army chaplain, serving in the trenches in Flanders. The daily horrors of war are intensified by German gas attacks, but a real crisis comes when a hot-shot journalist pushes investigation of what just might be a self-inflicted wound. Tensions run high--until Joseph finds the journalist's body. The evidence points to murder, rather than an accident of warfare. Joseph hated the journalist, but this ethics compell him to investigate--an investigation that leads back toward the peacemaker.

    Author Anne Perry (see more reviews of novels by Perry) does an excellent job portraying the horrors of war and the brothership of the men and women who fought. As Joseph experiences the slaughter of Flanders field, and the senseless waste of Galopoli, Perry manages to convey his growing doubts and moral uncertainty about his cause.

    SHOULDER THE SKY is part of a series, beginning with the interesting NO GRAVES AS YET (see our review). For me, the introduction of the horrors of one of mankind's most senselessly destructive wars makes SHOULDER even stronger than the earlier NO GRAVES. One thought--I think the story would be deepened if the peacemaker were given a bit more dimension. People seeking to save millions of lives, even at the price of surrender, are not necessarilly evil, nor even wrong. By making the badguy sympathetic, Perry could really elevate the emotional impact of her story.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 11/04/04

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