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The Code of Love: The True Story of Two Lovers Torn Apart by the War That Brought Them Together Hardcover – Feb 2001

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday Books (Feb. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385501153
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385501156
  • Product Dimensions: 15.1 x 2.6 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,205,700 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Andro Linklater, the travel writer and prize-winning biographer of Compton Mackenzie, has discovered a truly thrilling and heartrending story. Here is his account of unimaginable suffering and of love surviving across several years and many thousands of miles of separation. It is also a portrait of another age, of reticence and understatement, duty and loyalty, before our own age with its rather different values of "self-fulfilment" and the tell-all confessional.

In the spring of 1939, the beautiful young Pamela Kirrage met and quickly became engaged to a handsome young RAF pilot called Donald Hill. Soon after, Hill was transferred out to Hong Kong. When the city fell to the invading Japanese Army, Hill was imprisoned in Sham Sui POW camp and what he suffered at the hands of the Japanese over the next few years left him a changed man for life. When he returned to Pamela and England, they got married but he could never talk about his time in the camp and eventually, in 1970, he was finally confined to hospital in a state of mental collapse. In 1985 he died in Pamela's arms. But the story does not end there. For Donald left behind a coded diary that took another decade to crack. When its meanings were revealed, it told the full story of just what had happened to Donald and, at last, Pamela understood. It is a remarkable account, sensitively written by Linklater, skilfully interweaving the thrills of code-breaking with the romantic early days and later dark days of Pamela and Donald's marriage. The Code of Love is fascinating, compassionate and deeply moving. --Christopher Hart --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Andro Linklater, the son of Eric Linklater, has been a writer for twenty years. This will be his sixth book. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 May 2000
Format: Hardcover
I didn't know anything about this story before I bought this book but I got straight into it. It's a wonderful book and a very sad funny and moving tale. The writing carries you along, and you can easily imagine yourself in wartime England as well as appreciate the horrors of Donald Hill's prisoner of war camp. I would highly recommend this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Page V. Tolbert on 1 July 2009
Format: Paperback
Can't imagine why this book isn't better-known, as it is such an elemental tale of war, with its separations, trauma and transformations. It focuses on one couple's wartime experiences, but tells a much broader story of what war does to individuals and families. It is also a remarkably detailed tale of life in a Japanese prisoner of war camp, somewhat akin to Agnes Keith's Three Came Home. Rich and full.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rasp on 6 Sept. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Arrived in excellent condition well within the expected time. I say the new musical that has been written about this story and wanted to learn more. The book is not 'gripping' - yet - I have not finished reading it but does give a really comprehensive overview of the fall of Hong Kong in 1939.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Simply the Best 26 Mar. 2001
By Jackie - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This is simply the best book I have read in a long time.
Andro Linklater writes clearly and eloquently about the love affair between Pamela Kirrage and Donald Hill at the eve of World War II. He brings to life the great excitement of their budding romance and the long, difficult years they spent apart, Pamela doing her part to support England's war efforts at home and Donald languishing in a Japanese concentration camp.
The atrocities that Donald experienced are described in a matter of fact manner that does not take away from the sheer horror of what he must have endured. He was determined to document what happened in the camp at the risk of his own life and eventually coded his diary to ensure that it would not be discovered. Through it all, his promise to return to Pamela gave him the will to survive.
Years later after Donald's death, Pamela resolved to know the contents of his diary so she could understand what had happened to him, what had happened to them. I found the efforts to decode his diary just as fascinating as the turbulent relationship between Pamela and Donald.
This is an intelligent and articulate account of two passionate people caught up in the throes of war and their struggle to regain their lives and relationship once reunited. It is a romance, a war history, and a mystery all rolled into one.
I am recommending it to everyone I know. Read it!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A view from Historian 22 Dec. 2011
By Rusty - Published on
Format: Paperback
As an historian on the Battle of Hong Kong, "The Code of Love" is a book that must be placed in our bookshelf.
Donald Hill's story was completely forgotten in previous studies, who suggested to use the obsolete Vidlebeeste plane for suicidal attack by himself. In his years of capitulation, he saw his close friends killed by Japanese. The only thing kept him alive was simply his love to his fiancee. After the four years in the prisoner camp, he returned to Britain and fulfilled his promise by marrying her. However, he was completely forgotten by the country that he had fought for, he was no longer capable in flying planes and found himself being expelled by the RAF. His memories in the prisoner camp never faded away and haunted him throughout the rest of his life. It is heart-breaking to read about the unfortunate couple split eventually, but still their love continued until his last breathe. And she left, probably back to him, right after this very book published...
Although we seldom placed a non-fiction on our shelf, I strongly recommend to have this book no matter who you are. War is not merely about tactics and strategies, war is meant to be sufferings. And this book clearly, though not consciously perhaps, illustrated how we forgot those brave soldiers who had fought for us all over the world against tyranny and atrocities. Their sufferings were never clear-cut by the end of the war and kept haunting us until the end of their life, and yet we choose not to hear, not to care, not to remember them and provide any help that we can give. They slowly faded away and no one noticed them. It was the love between them and the determination to understand his suffering by his wife, Pamela, that let the story being revealed. Let us read their story, remember their story and let no more suffering ever appear in our world again!
2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A true tear jerker! 19 Mar. 2001
By Terry Mathews - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Pamela Kirrage and Donald Hill were very much in love and living in England right before the outbreak of World War II. Donald was sent overseas and spent three and a half years in a Japanese prison camp. He was never the same after the war, but tried to live a normal life with Pamela and their children.
David kept a diary during his imprisonment, but no one could crack the code until years after Donald's death, when Pamela found a mathematician who solved the mystery.
This book tells Donald and Pamela's sad, but moving story of true love, the horrors of war and the ultimate triumph of the human spirit.
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