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Armistice [Paperback]

Nick Stafford
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
RRP: £7.99
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Book Description

16 Sep 2010

Philomena Bligh's fiancé Dan, has been shot. The First World War claimed many lives and so his death is not, in its own way, surprising. But Dan was shot in the minutes after the Armistice. The war was over.

She cannot understand how this could have happened, or why they were still fighting that morning anyway. So, in March 1919, over Dan's birthday, Philomena travels to London to meet the men who were with him when he died. What she discovers is more shocking than she'd ever imagined. Dan's best friend, Jonathan, tells her that Dan was shot by a British officer over a gambling debt. There is no proof and all records of Jonathan's accusation have been destroyed.

Refusing to accept anything less than justice for the man she loved, Philomena decides to take on the Establishment. Worried that she may cause his own downfall and feeling guilty for his mysterious part in Dan's death, Jonathan decides to accompany her on her mission.

Set against a backdrop of London in the aftermath of the Great War, a time of upheaval, grief and wanton escapism, this is not just an inspirational book about what it means to be a hero, but also a breathtaking love story.

Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus; Reprint edition (16 Sep 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849160236
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849160230
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 346,397 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'There's a raw, urgent power to Stafford's depiction of the grief and desperation of the postwar world' Guardian.

'Like War Horse, this is the story of a heroic quest... Stafford's fans won't be disappointed' Observer.

From the Inside Flap

11am, 11th November 1918.
Just when Philomena thinks Dan's going to make it home, her fiancé's slain on a battlefield in France.
Four months later, grieving Philomena travels to London to meet three soldiers who fought with Dan. Soon she discovers a terrible possibility: Dan's death wasn't at the hands of the enemy.
But there is no proof, no witness, only an accusation by one man and the threat of ruin by another should he ever repeat it.
Alone in an alien city traumatised by the aftershocks of the war, whom should Philomena believe, who can she trust, in her attempt to discover if Dan was murdered?
And this isn't her only challenge. Whilst inching ever closer to the truth Philomena finds herself falling for one of the men...

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reflective and Emotive 18 Dec 2009
This book certainly makes you think about how hard it must have been for the men who returned from the trenches to integrate back into a `normal life'. The sense of anticlimax, loss and the awful memories these men carried, must have been utterly dreadful especially when living in an age when openly discussing feelings was frowned upon and highly unusual.

The book follows the lives of Philomena, Jonathan and Anthony who are entangled in a web of suspicion and fear as an allegation of murder threatens to ruin and socially ostracise all parties involved.

Throughout the book, the author cleverly links emotions, expressions and thought processes into the story which have arisen due to the impact of the First World War. This book subtlety emphasises the changes that the First World War has made on people's lives, where many people are searching for a new identity and place within a radically altered society.

This book is emotive, poignant and reflective due to the elements of sacrifice made by both the men of the trenches and their women waiting for them back home. Whilst men faced the brutality of the muddy battlefields, women lived through a torturous period, waiting for that dreadful telegram.

This is a very good read which contains an interesting plot involving murder and the attempt to obtain justice. However, it also serves as an essential reminder that sacrifice was made by all members of this wartime society in varying degrees.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read. 17 Feb 2010
By M. Lea
I Really enjoyed reading this book. I have to admit that I did pick it up thinking that it would be about fighting, however, it is not. It deals with the aftermath of war. It is emotionally intricate and I think that the author is brilliant at writing from his female protagonists point of view. Its a thriller and a love story without being a slave to either genre. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read 18 Nov 2009
By Lis H
I've always been interested in the First World War and this book really captured life in the trenches at the end of the war and the atmosphere of the time immediately after the Armistice as everyone tried to adjust to a changed world. The story was really well thought out and crafted, the characters very real and I couldn't put it down! Having also adapted the War Horse for the stage, Nick Stafford obviously has a real feeling for this period. Definitely recommended if you like studies of human nature and period novels.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not your average historical fiction 25 May 2012
By Marie
This book was passed onto me by a friend and I must admit that I started it mostly out of a sense of obligation - haven't we all been there? Luckily in this case it turned out to be a well-placed recommendation. The main thing that I initially found off-putting about this novel was the wartime setting. I have to admit that historical fiction is just not my genre, and this particularly applies to wartime stories. The reason that this wasn't a problem when reading Armistice is that it isn't really about the war at all. You could take these characters and this scenario and stick them in the present day, even 100 years from now and it would still be relevant and engaging. One person alleges that something is true, a second person denies it, and a third party is stuck in the middle trying to fathom out what's what.

Nick Stafford raises some interesting questions about class, equality and justice which are still relevant today. On the battlefield men would fraternise with other soldiers from all walks of life and put differences in social status aside. Once war was over it must have been really difficult for everybody to go back to their normal roles, and this is something that is illustrated really well in Armistice. It also made me muse over the impact that status and power has on the justice system.

The ending was pleasantly unexpected and I felt, pitched just right. I enjoyed this and would recommend it to historical fiction fans as well as those who don't enjoy the genre.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Well worth reading. 1 Oct 2011
If I could have given this book 3.5 stars then that's what it would have got.

I was engrossed by the story. I felt it was a very well written debut novel based on an unusual premise in my opinion. I found the characters engaging and I detested the villain of the piece with avengeance. My only criticism is that I felt the ending was a little rushed.

Well worth a read and if Mr Stafford writes anymore books then I'll be making a point of reading them.
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