‘The Constant Soldier’ by William Ryan
‘The Constant Soldier’ was published on the 25th August 2016 by Mantle, an imprint of Pan Macmillan. I was interested in reading this book and got my proof copy from NetGalley.
It is 1944 and Paul Brandt, a soldier in the German army returns home badly wounded from the Eastern front. The village has changed a lot and certainly not for the better either. A SS rest hut has been set up as a luxurious retreat for those who manage the concentration camps. It is run with the help of a small group of female prisoners who against all odds have so far survived the war.
Just by chance Brandt catches sight of one of the prisoners and he knows instantly that he must somehow gain access to the rest hut whatever it takes. Inside is the woman to whom his fate has been tied since their arrest five years ago and he feels he must do what he can to protect her.
As the Russian offensive moves ever closer, the days of the SS rest hut and its inhabitants are numbered. While there is hope there is also impending danger. Will Brandt and the female prisoners survive?
Over the last few months there has been a lot of talk about ‘The Constant Soldier’. Having now read this book for myself I can see exactly why. The writing is absolutely superb and of the highest quality. From the very first chapter I was drawn into the story. So clear were the descriptions that I could actually picture some of the scenes in my head.
There were a lot of characters in this book, Paul Brandt being my favourite. I thought he was really brave. I felt sorry for the female prisoners. The way they were treated at times was abominable. And those poor refugees!
It’s easy to forget sometimes just how much work goes into writing a book. An author can spend years slaving over their next title. With ‘The Constant Soldier’ it was obvious that a lot of research had been done. This is confirmed by the lovely author’s note at the end.
‘The Constant Solider’ is a must read. It is a powerful, emotional and thought provoking story about war, guilt, loss and survival. This book will stay with me for a long time and it is definitely going on my list of favourites for 2016. Thank you for a wonderful read.
I give this book 5 out of 5.