15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 14 January 2013
I loved this book, I travelled with Thomas through his journey and felt like I was connected to him. I wish that I had been able to read it all in one sitting.
The horrors of the WW1 trenches was made very real without being uneccesarily gory. The authors attention to detail was excellent, I had a very vivid picture in my mind of the scenes as I was reading.
This is probably not my usual genre, the book was recommended to me by a friend who had read an earlier version. While I waited for Coming Home to be released I read Roy Stolworthys other books, all were good but Coming Home is definitely the best yet. I await his next book eagerly.
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 16 January 2013
Without a doubt, this was the best book I read in 2012 - and I reckon I read at least 40 books in 2012!!
First publication by the Author and a truly remarkable talent for creating characters, plots and environments. This was a book that leaves a lasting impression. I wonder, where did the author get the inspiration for this story? First world war, in all its brutal reality and it combines some horrific scenes with scenes of tenderness and humour as well as the downright surprising. Often you had to stop and read the paragraph again, asking yourself, "did that just happen?".
I read the authors blog and What really surprises me is the difficulty he had in attracting a publisher. Rejection letters and a frustrated deal and he ended up publishing it on Amazon and then attracted a publisher.
This book has excellent reviews. Why could the publishers not see the potential of this book? Moral of the story - as the author found out, you can cut out the middleman.
First class effort, a brilliant story - if you haven't read it: put it on your next to read list.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 17 January 2013
I bought this book because the author uses the same pub. I'm so glad I did because it was an excellent read.
A moving story of the horrors of war through the eyes of a boy soldier unable to cope with his past.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 24 February 2014
I have just finished reading this. I loved the prologue as I knew from that I was in for a great story. The first chapter was a bit gruesome but set the scene.
Once Elkin gets to Catterick and starts his training the book described everything perfectly. And Elkin managed to get through the training.
Once in the trenches the description of the conditions and action is conducive to keeping the reader hooked.
Apart from being in the trenches Elkin is a true innocent, especially were girls are concerned.
According to the story he survives almost to the end of the book. But then due to a rogue German bomb he is badly burned and disfigured. And then he is finally killed by another bomb and apparently becomes the unknown soldier. OR DOES HE
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Brilliantly written
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 17 January 2014
Not a bad story about WW1. Normally I can read books several times and get more out of them each time. I read this one but that was enough. I liked the story plot but maybe it was a bit too fanciful and aimed at a younger audience.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 28 February 2013
This is a powerful and outstanding novel about the Great War.
Roy Stolworthy has written a story that will stand alongside classics like ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT. It is a brutally honest portrayal of life in the rat-infested, bog-like trenches and the mindless slaughter of millions of brave, courageous soldiers commanded by largely incompetent aristocratic officers who were sometimes shot by their own men.
Thomas Elkin is a fifteen-year-old farm boy who switches identity with his recently conscripted brother whom he has accidentally killed. Elkin dispooses of his brother in a rather grim fashion and heads off to war determined to die a glorious death in battle rather than face the hangman's noose in order to atone for his sins.
The author writes vividly and descriptively about the war and the terrible conditions the soldiers faced. Despite a few minor editing glitches the story is effectively told and is gripping for the reader. He brings war to life with its stench and raw brutality. It might be too much for some readers, but it is a tale worth reading. It puts into perspective the sacrifices our grandfathers and great grandfathers made. I know it made me feel proud of my grandfather who fought for the British army in "the war to end all wars".
I became familiar with the author through another of his books, The Dancing Boy, a five-star tale of Afghanistan, and it is amazing that this one was his first novel. Mr. Stolworthy sets a standard hard to beat. The ending is a twist and was a complete surprise to how I thought it would end.
I can't really call this book enjoyable but it is a must read for anyone who wants to know and truly understand what life in war is really like. Truly a masterpiece!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 8 January 2014
An extremely powerful story set against the backdrop of the 1st World War. A very graphic account of the brutality of war and how war brutalises the people concerned in this young boy’s journey to try and assuage the guilt he feels after killing his brother. Very well written and, although the story is fictional, the battles, places and bravery have obviously been well researched. Some of the vivid descriptions of the gruesome conditions but also the comradeship and bravery of these (mostly) young people should serve as a reminder in these centenary years of just what the people involved had to suffer.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 16 February 2014
I was seeking a novel that explored the life of the first world war trench soldier and in Coming Home I found it!
This is an extremely well written sometimes gut churning novel that takes the reader to places that no man woman or child should go but all should understand.
A fantastic story is interwoven in amongst some excellent characterisations, a great book about "the Great War" and once read the reader will I suspect have an understanding why WW1 is regarded as the war to end all wars. it is graphic and brutal, expressing hate, love, sorrow and human weakness in all its extremes whilst at the same time leaving you in no doubt that war in this form is futile.
A very good read , a neat and tight story what more do you need?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 28 November 2014
I chose to read this novel because its description suggested a compelling story with a deep exploration of the psyche of a soldier in the cataclysm of World War One. I was not disappointed.
The protagonist goes to war voluntarily, under-age for the army but driven by guilt and fear to throw himself into danger at every opportunity. Because of a terrible event early in the narrative, he assumes his older brother’s identity, thus complicating his relationship with the military authorities, his comrades and his family at home. How he deals with all of that—along with the usual issues of adolescent development—in the midst of the utter hell of the war is narrated with considerable power.
Through the author’s clear and unpretentious language, the thoughts and emotions of an ordinary teen-age boy from rural England are conveyed very well. The horror, filth, despair, friendship and heroism of the soldiers’ lives come fully alive. There are some cunning twists in the plot, especially towards the end of the book, that kept me reading eagerly. The conclusion was very satisfying.
I did wonder, though, whether the middle section of the novel needed to be as long. Yes, the author does a very good job of showing the folly and inhumanity of much military strategy, the deplorable conditions and the blind futility of the war as a whole. Yet some of the situations and battle incidents seemed to be making similar points without adding much to the development of character or plot. Was I missing a few things of value through lapses in concentration?
You be the judge. If you like stories about a rite de passage, or about a war that continues to shape our world a hundred years later, or if you simply like excellent suspense stories, I heartily recommend Roy E. Stolworthy’s novel to you.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 14 August 2013
Thomas is a 15-year-old English farm boy whose older brother, Archie, is an abusive jerk. During a confrontation, Archie is accidentally killed, and Thomas fakes his own death and assumes Archie's identity as a cover, reporting for duty as a new recruit in WWI. From there, we follow Thomas as he attempts to assuage his guilt by trying to die in the battlefield to escape his conscience.
Mr. Stolworthy has a fabulous way with words - descriptions are vivid and emotions are real. The gruesome facts and horrors of the trenches are portrayed brilliantly, forcing the reader to live the atrocities and feel the despair, misery, anguish, and hopelessness of the soldiers, while marveling at the sense of duty and courage displayed by so many young men under such ghastly conditions.
I have enjoyed a few other books by this author, and although the others have been great reads, this one is a masterpiece! Five stars is not enough to rank this one. Bravo, sir.