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Small Wars Paperback – 15 Apr 2010

4.0 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (15 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099540525
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099540526
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 22,825 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"Jones is fabulous at this, offering titbits of danger and discord while keeping a cool, matter of fact tone for the big horrors... This is, at heart, a moving love story" (Sunday Times)

"Jones's first novel, The Outcast, winner if the Costa First Novel Award, was a very hard act to follow. Her second, however, is even better... Jones's research is impeccable, and her emotional intelligence outstanding" (Kate Saunders The Times)

"In this exciting novel that resonates with contemporary parallels, Jones is unusual among women writers in focusing as much on the thrills and terrors of frontline action as its psychological fall's a movie waiting to happen" (Emma Hagestadt Independent)

"Ambitious...uncannily good at the evocation of charged moments" (Guardian)

"Here Jones's talent really shows... In an excellent encounter with a military psychiatrist, the dialogue breaks like dry twigs" (Stephanie Cross Times Literary Supplement)

Book Description

The devastating follow-up to the massive bestseller The Outcast. What happens when everything a man believes in - the army, his country, his marriage - begins to crumble...

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By L. H. Healy TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 24 Aug. 2009
Format: Hardcover
I eagerly anticipated reading the second novel from Sadie Jones as I absolutely loved 'The Outcast' last year.'Small Wars' is a moving, emotional read, set mainly in Cyprus during the 1950s. The main character, Hal Treherne, is seemingly an army man for life, following in his father's and grandfather's footsteps, and after a posting in Germany, he moves to Cyprus with his wife Clara, and his young twin daughters, and after a temporary home, they move to live with the other families on the base. There is a real sense of the heat and stifling atmosphere of the island evoked in the novel, and the pressures and demands of all aspects of army life are starkly portrayed. The events on Cyprus that Hal bears witness to, as the British attempt to defend this colony, have a devastating effect on him and his marriage.

This novel tells of a man and a family terribly damaged by the conflicting demands of duty and love, following orders and knowing the difference between right and wrong, and how this can become blurred. It portrays a man's internal agonies in the face of serving his country alongside those around him, however they might behave, and at facing up to his own doubts and weaknesses. Additionally we experience the struggle that Hal has to verbalise or express in any way the life-changing feelings he experiences. The events in Cyprus prove to be a test of the strength of love between Hal and Clara, and test their marriage to the limits. I found this a moving and intelligent read, with situations at times having parallels with the modern day.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A review of Small Wars by Sadie Jones.

After reading and loving Jones' first book 'The Outcast' I knew she had plenty more to give. That said not all second novels live up to the promise of their predecessor. Jones does not disappoint with 'Small Wars'. Set in post second world War Cyprus, where the British are trying to hold on to their Mediterranean colony in the face of unionist insurgents, 'Small Wars' details the impact of this so called minor military intervention on the lives of the everyday people involved; in this case Major Hal and his wife Clara Treherne. As the story unfolds Jones' reminds us that there is no such thing as a small war. The fact the book takes place in the 50s doesn't make it any less topical. Jones is one of those wonderful breed of writers (all of whom seem to be women) who master the art of credible dialogue. Beneath the ellipses and the apparent banality of the conversations whole worlds are changing. The strain of army life on the Treherne's marriage and the toll it takes on Major Hal's moral and emotional well-being is conveyed fantastically well through Jones penchant for the minutiae. What could be boring, irrelevant detail if handled badly is used by Jones to great effect to show the importance of the ordinary in life. It's the absence and rupture of these things when disaster strikes that can be so devastating.

As has been stated in other reviews book is paced well. Jones knack for characterisation is indisputable. Even those of minor importance jump off the page with whole back stories one can easily imagine even if not apparent on the page. The character of Lewis is particularly fascinating and I would have liked him to feature more, particularly towards the end of the book; or at least a stronger resolution to his story.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
After reading and watching 'The Outcast', I was hopeful of an equally insightful tale of the frailties of the human condition. The subject - the 'small wars' that Britain was engaged in during the 1950s is one that is close to home. My father,(an Army Officer) mother and brother were in Egypt at this time, and my father in Cypress as well as other places, Although I was technically in existence, I was unborn, not unlike Clara's baby. Point being I know how (at that time) Army life and family life were exactly as Jones observes it to be. The conflicts, the breaking down of principles, conscience in the face of the 'greater good' (for whom?) duty, loyalty, not letting the side down, revenge, blood-lust, 'legitimate' lust- what tipped Hal over? They all want to know, they all need to rationalise it before it is acknowledged and admitted by every decent human being who happens to be a soldier.
Clara, trying to be a Good Army Wife. And she does it. She does it to the letter. She tries not to be needy, yet indulges Hal's neediness. In her strength she becomes a victim. Lines blur, fade out, break are never straight where strong and weak, good and bad, right and wrong are concerned in this story. Jones' research into the actual military incidents and into the reactions of people in that situation at that time is either immaculate or comes from first hand experience. Impressive. And all so hopelessy stiflingly, emptily sad.
The story contains graphic but not gratuitous violence. If you are someone who wants hearts and flowers and conventional heroes and brave heroines, this is not for you.
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Format: Hardcover
An exceptional writer whose prior novel The Outcast established her talent for compelling characterization, Sadie Jones presents a unique love story against the British colony in Cyprus in the 1950's. Major Hal Traherne is stationed for a month with his Clara wife Clara and their two daughters Meg and Lottie in Limassol, where the army has rented them a house. Amid the sounds of motorbikes and Cypriot voices, the banging shutters of other houses, Hal and Clara find themselves immersed in a war of intelligence and a war of subterfuge and of rumor. Three years of conflict so far has seen restaurant bombings and soldiers' vehicles ambushed on remote roads, along with street fights, graffiti ads and countless arrests. Certainly a fledgling desire for Cypriot independence has hardened into a terrorist campaign where the British Government is backed into a corner.

Hal, a man from a staunchly military family, is full of idealistic zeal through trying to change the Cypriots hearts and minds. The idea is for protection as well as rule and Hal is here to root out terrorism and to protect the population from it. While Clara attends to the girls, together with Adile, a Turkish Cypriot, Hal, acting on orders from his superior, Colonel Burroughs, goes away for a stint of "proper fighting." His task is to root out the terrorist Loulla Kollias, a member of the EOKA organization with the mission culminating in a raid on his farmhouse. Left alone at home Clara tries to accept the reality of their situation. The house is empty and there's evil around her, hiding itself. She didn't want Hal to think that she wasn't coping. She befriends Mark and Deirdre Innes, and later, Captain Davis who experiences a shared, unspoken sympathy for Clara that is mysterious and comforting.
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