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While the Band Played Waltzing Matilda [Kindle Edition]

HW Coyle
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

Kindle Price: £4.46 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Book Description

As the son a middling bureaucrat working for the Colonial Office in Singapore and an Irish mother, Bryan Lockhart was raised within a class conscious society that cherished conformity to established social norms and service to King and country above all else. It is a culture which has no place for someone who is unable to answer a question most people never find themselves having to address; ‘What am I, a boy or a girl?’ It is a question Bryan is unable to answer.

In an effort to solve this most unusual riddle, at fourteen Bryan turns to Madam Leu, a notorious Chinese business woman who caters to the many diverse and eclectic needs of pre-war Singapore. Through her, Bryan is introduced to Dayang, a young Malay mak nyah, or as the Thai and Asians call people like her, a ladyboy. While the two social outcasts form a friendship that transcends the differences in their race and class, Madam Leu seeks to capitalize upon Bryan’s unique attributes by drawing him into a world in which men of wealth and position are willing to pay well to satisfy their fondest dreams.

When Bryan’s father discovers his son’s association with Madam Leu, he exiles him to a boarding school in England where Bryan becomes an object of abuse and scorn. In an effort to escape his past as well as a culture which has no place for him, after finishing his education Bryan takes an assignment in Australia as an engineer where he seeks to begin a new life for himself.

The coming of war between the Empire of Japan and the British Empire and the posting of Bryan’s division to Singapore set the stage for a conflict very different than the one he expected to find when his unit left Sydney in February 1941. In Singapore Bryan finds himself once more drawn into Madam Leu’s web as he follows a path that not only puts him at odds with the society he has pledged to defend, but tests his loyalty to his county, his fellow officers and James Harris, a man Bryan set out to humble but found instead something he had never known before; love.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 656 KB
  • Print Length: 203 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #579,544 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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If you are expecting a simple war story forget it. This book is so much more than that.

The story starts in Singapore before the Japanese invasion, and as always Coyle's deft and immaculately researched touch with history brings that bygone world to life, before following the tragedy of a young Australian Engineer officer through the fall of Malaya to it's eventual reconquest.

Desire, duty and desperate necessity weave together to deliver a story I couldn't put down, even at the second reading.

This is a GLBT book, but it isn't.

It's about human love and challenges and the demands of an impossible situation, and doing what is needed to survive with honour.
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