Towards the end of the war as the Germans are in their final retreat in November 1918, a British raiding party stumbles across a strange and eerie scene in a ruined chateau, under fire. Following the strains of a familiar tune, and understandably perplexed as to who would be playing the piano in the midst of shellfire, they discover a German officer lying dead at the keys, next to a beautiful woman in full evening dress, also deceased. But the officer is the spitting image of G B Bretherton, a British officer missing in action….
So follows a tale of mystery and identity, first published in 1930, which is not only an authentic account of conditions at the Front, but also a remarkable thriller, with a highly unusual plot, which won Bretherton comparisons to John Buchan and the best of the espionage writers.
John Squire, the influential editor of the London Mercury said ‘of the English war-books, undoubtedly the best is Bretherton.’ The Morning Post thought it ‘one of the best of the English war novels. I do not expect anything much better.’ The Sunday Times pinpointed its dual attraction: it was both ‘a mystery as exciting as a good detective story and an extraordinarily vivid account of trench-warfare’.
About the Author
W. F. Morris was an English novelist best known for Bretherton. Morris served with the 13th Cycle Battalion of the Norfolk Regiment during WWI, reaching the rank of Major at 27, and was awarded the Military Cross. He wrote ten novels.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Bretherton is written in three parts, but they are not presented chronologically. Part One is the end of the story, but the writer of the preface, a fictional character, decided to present them in the order he received his information. Confusing. I would have preferred to have not known the end until I got there. Having read the end of the story in Part One, Part Two dragged a bit for me. It is full of lyrical descriptions of the war experience, but how did that fit with Part One? It is taken from Captain Baron’s diary. He knew Bretherton, but didn’t focus on him. There was always the question, where’s this going? Part Three is about Bretherton, and despite knowing how the story would end, it is so full of twists and turns that I was left wondering how the end would be reached. Bretherton is a British officer who, through the events of the war, occasionally forgets that he is. The ability to succeed when he is not himself is uncanny. And entertaining. The author, W. F. Morris, served in World War I. He knew his subject well. This is a British story which contains some terms unknown to me, but they did not prove to be obstacles in following the tale. Be prepared to start out off balance, but enjoy the ride. I received a free copy in exchange for my honest review.