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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 5 July 2016
This was brilliant. Fast paced, written with respect to all who served, and a clever balance between truth and fiction, the novel and historic fact.

I have read a couple of detective novels based on the Western front, and none have matched up to what I've just read. To wite anything about the story is going to give everything away. Just know this is a highly recommended novel, which you should take time out to read.

Congratulations to the author, and where's the next one......
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on 27 May 2011
Compelling reading. A detective story which is largely set in France around the early days of the first Battle of the Somme during World War One but which also sees action in South Wales. The reader is immediately drawn into the intrigue. The action is fast moving and the plot has multiple strands. Clearly, the novel is extremely well researched. The attention to the detail of the hardships of life in the early 20th century, and of military life, the choice and obvious accuracy of the characterisation, and the vivid descriptions of the fighting, not only add plausibility to the plot but also superbly capture the poignancy (and futility) of the War. The success of this book lies in the complexity of the plot, itself, and in the stark portrayal of the realism and horrors of the war. Recommended!!
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on 29 July 2011
This really is an interesting book. There is a prologue and epilogue where Jack, son of Tom is on a visit to the site of the great David Petersen dragon memorial to the fallen in the fighting at Mametz Wood four days before the opening ceremony on 11th July 1987. He reflects on a tale told to him by his father of a job he did here as a Military Policeman. The main body of this book is Tom Oscendale's story of the battle of Mametz. The trench warfare is vividly described,and as Jonathan Hicks is a military historian, I am sure his facts are correct. But he has interwoven a detective story which makes for a very unusual read. 'The first Thomas Oscendale novel' it says on the front cover. I wonder where he will go next? Wherever it is I am sure it will be fascinating.
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on 21 July 2011
Captain Thomas Oscendale, the central character in The Dead of Mametz, is a welcome addition to the ranks of great British detectives.

The novel is essentially a murder mystery set in a First World War battlefield, but its graphic rendition of trench warfare, and its moral examination of why a military policeman pursues a murderer amid mass slaughter gives it a real depth. Fascinating detail is woven into the story.

As events unfold, it becomes apparent that murder is just one part of a wider mystery, and that the British and Germans are in a race against time to discover a secret that lies at the heart of Mametz Wood. This novel offers twists and turns to the final page!
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on 5 July 2011
If you enjoy Phillip Kerr's Berlin's 'Sam Spade' Bernie Gunther, then you may enjoy Hick's creation Thomas Oscendale. Both have their roots in 'honest coppering' and both are forced to transfer their skills to the arena of war and the frontline! Whilst Oscendale lacks the humour of Gunther,his is a far more 'serious' and austere character, through whom Hicks evokes a vivid picture of life in the trenches and in the industrial towns of South Wales during World War One. Oscendale's first adventure could be considered a little 'far fetched' but Hick's writing gallops along, draws the reader in and delivers a very satisfying yarn. As in the case of Kerr's Gunther, we are eager to embark on another case with our hero. A thoroughly enjoyable and thought provoking debut from a novelist who clearly knows his history and is eager to inform the reader!
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on 15 June 2011
Having lost a relative in the battle for Mamezt Wood I eagerly anticipated this book. I was not disappointed. Even though this is a fictional murder mystery, it's set against the backdrop of the real battle for Mametz Wood. The author has clearly done alot of research in to the First World War and this makes the story feel very real. The hero, Thomas Oscendale, has the potential to develop in to one of the great literary sleuths such as Poirot and Sherlock Holmes. The story itself is up there with other great WWI mysteries such as 'The 39 Steps' and 'The Riddle of The Sands'. Even when you think you've worked out what's going on the story takes a twist so you're guessing right until the end. Can't wait for the sequel.
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on 12 June 2011
An extremely good detective novel, and a thoroughly good read,and incredibly historically correct except it lacks the idiosyncrasy of a Pals battalion, and how the British Army operated at the time,after all Dr Hicks is an academic and not a soldier, but this small complaint would only be obvious the a complete World war one geek and in no way diminishes what is a very well written thriller. Thomas Oscendale is a strong character who I am sure will develop in the planed later editions of his story. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 31 October 2012
The Somme battlefield forms the backdrop for this WWI-set thriller, the first in what might well turn into a series featuring Thomas Oscendale. He's a civilian police detective who's been made a Military Foot Police Captain in the British Army, and as such, is generally greeted with scorn and hostility by regular troops. The murder of a Frenchwoman and the suicide of a Welsh solider near the Western Front in July 1916 provide him with two unrelated cases to investigate, which naturally end up dovetailing as he digs deeper and deeper. The key to the crimes lies somewhere in the heavily-defended German-held Mametz Woods, which Welsh regiments are preparing to assault. The book does a good job of describing the trenches, horror of both battle and daily life on the front, as well as the dynamics of those in towns behind the lines and even back home. It's a fine mix of genre with WWI history, and the Welsh focus is likely to appeal to those of that background (Mametz was the bloodiest battle for Welsh units in the war). The mystery itself isn't that intriguing, but worth checking out by readers with an interest in mysteries set amidst warfare. I'll definitely keep an eye out for the next in the series if it comes.
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on 20 June 2011
I totally recommend this book - You are completely drawn in from the start and hooked all the way through. Not only is it an enjoyable and exciting read but also very interesting due to the author's well researched history of the 1st World War and reference to areas of South Wales. One day I would like pay a visit to Mametz Wood and try to imagine what it must have been like. Really looking forward to the next Thomas Oscendale Novel.
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on 9 July 2011
Great book. It mixes mystery with history for a good read. I look forward to his future novels.
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