The Code Of Love

Overview

Donald Hill and Pamela Kirrage met and fell in love a few short months before Hill was assigned by the RAF to prtect British colonies in the Far East against the "unlikelihood" of Japanese hostilities. Engaged a week before Hill's departure for Shanghai, they would not see each other for another five years.

The Code of Love brings together a stirring account of Hill's experiences on the front lines and the story of Kirrage's life on the home front in a dramatic, moving portrayal...

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Overview

Donald Hill and Pamela Kirrage met and fell in love a few short months before Hill was assigned by the RAF to prtect British colonies in the Far East against the "unlikelihood" of Japanese hostilities. Engaged a week before Hill's departure for Shanghai, they would not see each other for another five years.

The Code of Love brings together a stirring account of Hill's experiences on the front lines and the story of Kirrage's life on the home front in a dramatic, moving portrayal of the World War II era. Just before the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hill was relocated to Hong Kong with a handful of other RAF officers and five planes. When Hong Kong and the territories inevitably fell to Japan's vast military power, Hill's life as a dashing officer and ladies' man abruptly ended. Hill spent the rest of the war in a POW camp, keeping a journal of the indignities he suffered in complex, almost unbreakable, code. Thousands of miles away, Kirrage was swept into the frantic swirl of a wartime society eager to live to the fullest in the little time available. She cooked meals for secret agents and danced the nights away with handsome soldiers and civilians. Reunited after the war, Hill and Kirrage married. But the scars Hill bore from his years of emotional isolation eventually destroyed both their marriage and his career.

The code in Hill's POW journal was ultimately cracked by a mathematician after Hill's lonely death. Linklater describes the painstaking efforts required, and drawing on Hill's remarkable document, creates a tale of love irrevocably damaged by war that will appeal to men and women alike.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
"I feel that now I can let myself die," whispered a frail and elderly Pamela Kirrage Hill in the spring of 2000 upon seeing the British edition of this book. Six days later she did. A much younger Pamela Kirrage had been a fun-loving model when she met Donald Hill, an RAF officer, just months before he was sent to Hong Kong in WWII. They wouldn't see each other for more than six years. When the British surrendered Hong Kong to the Japanese, Donald was interned in a POW camp, where he scrupulously kept a diary using a complex mathematical code. The emotional trauma of Donald's prison years took a great toll on his and Pamela's marriage; they both turned to drink and eventually divorced--although their mutual passion endured and led to reconciliation. For years, Donald was unwilling to translate his diary, and later he was unable to remember the code. Several years after his death, Pamela brought the diary to Philip Aston, a mathematician who was able to break the code. For the first time, Pamela learned the full story of her husband's wartime experiences and, as she says, could finally see him again as the whole man he had been when they first fell in love. Linklater, a British author (Wild People: Travels with Borneo's Headhunters), describes well the complex world of codes and ciphers as well as Aston's compulsion to decipher Donald's code. Drawing on interviews with Pamela, her children, and other friends and relatives, he also recounts a tragic love story. Linklater's book will captivate readers hungry for a wartime story of love and intrigue. The text of the diary is included in the book, which is also accompanied by an audio CD of a BBC radio documentary made by Linklater. (Feb. 27) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A real wartime romance meets an account of internment in a Japanese POW camp. Add a touch of cryptography and you have the story of beautiful Pamela Kirrage and stalwart Donald Hill. In a sentimental WWII tale that could have been filmed by Carol Reed (with appearances by Trevor Howard and Wendy Hiller), a sensitive accountant becomes a dashing RAF pilot and meets a girl in the village of Tunbridge Wells, halfway between London and the Channel. Pam, spunky enough to be a lingerie model, showed them her knickers all right, but she was a good girl. One date, one dance with Donald and they were soon engaged to be married. But before the happy day, he was ordered to Hong Kong. The betrothal lasted nearly six years. He was imprisoned, with thoughts of return to his beloved his only support. He kept a journal, enshrouded in a complex code. In the camp, physical manifestations included dysentery, beriberi, pellagra, and endemic stiff upper lip. (Flight Officer Donald showed many symptoms, notably the last.) At home, Pam cooked tiffin for secret agents at Woburn Abbey by day and danced by night with the charmer who wrote powerful ditties like"These Foolish Things" and the mighty one about that nightingale singing in Berkeley Square. When Pam and Don were reunited at war's end, they were finally wed and expected to live happily ever after. Alas, it was not to be."At the level of hero and heroine, knight and maiden, they still functioned," says the author."It was ordinary living that defeated them." The legacy of the camp tainted his life, their marriage, and their young family. Pamela took to drink. Finally they divorced, their love undimmed. After Donald's death and just before Pamela's,hiswartime diary was decoded (and is appended). It tells of his imprisonment in the style of Mr. Pepys. The story is better told by Linklater in a text that might have been simple kitsch but for his evident affection and understanding. A true romance, evocative of a passing generation and their triumphs and tribulations.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385501156
  • Publisher: Doubleday Publishing
  • Publication date: 2/27/2001
  • Edition description: 1st U.S. Edition
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 5.97 (w) x 8.57 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Meet the Author

Andro Linklater is the author of four nonfiction books, including Wild People: Travels with Borneo's Headhunters. The son of the noted Scottish writer Eric Linklater, he lives in England.

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