When you are standing at your hero's grave, Or near some homeless village where he died, Remember, through your heart's rekindling pride, The German soldiers who were loyal and brave. Men fought like brutes, and hideous things were done, And you have nourished hatred, harsh and blind. But in that Golgotha, perhaps you'll find The mothers of the men who killed your son. Reconciliation by Siegfried Sassoon 1918 Quoted as an inspiration for my novel, In Love and War
As we mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, millions of visitors will flock to the cemeteries and battlefields of Flanders and the Somme.
What is little known is that these tours actually began a hundred years ago. In 1919, within weeks of the Armistice, thousands flocked across the Channel on what was then an extremely daunting and risky journey, in a desperate search for news of their lost loved ones.
The very first organised trips were run for ‘pilgrims’ by church groups, but companies such as Thomas Cook and Michelin soon realised their commercial potential. Their involvement was highly controversial; furious arguments raged in the letters pages of newspapers about the way in which these ‘sacred places’, where so many died, were being so distastefully ‘desecrated by the spectre of commercial tourism’.
Others believed they provided a vital way of remembering and honouring the sacrifice made by that ‘lost generation’, arguing at the same time that visitors brought much-needed income to areas in desperate need of funding to rebuild their shattered lands.
I will be talking and showing photographs of the research into early battlefield tourism carried out for my latest novel, In Love and War, (published in the United States as The Lost Soldiers) at the Roman River Festival in my home town of Colchester UK next week (19th September). Click on the link for more details. The talk is free, but booking is advisable.
Ever get the feeling you’ve seen something somewhere before? The image on this cover is the same as the UK version, but my US publishers, Bookouture, have changed the title of In Love and War to The Lost Soldiers because they believe it will have more appeal for American readers. And so it has already proved – sales are now moving faster!
This seems a good time to apologise for the wrong posting of my previous novel, The Silk Weaver for sale on UK Amazon under the different title given to it by my US publishers, The Hidden Thread. Of course it should only have been available in the US (on Amazon.com). Several people have bought it in good faith thinking it was a new title, only to be quite naturally disappointed to discover they had already read it.
Both American and British publishers apologise for this problem and have been trying to fix it. You’d think it would be simple, but as with all things Amazon, it never is. Something to do with ‘leaking territories’ (sounds painful), algorithms, blah blah blah. Apparently it is not uncommon.
If you have been caught out I suggest you return it to Amazon and ask for a refund. I can only apologise again and hope it doesn’t happen with this new title.