Thursday, 21 March 2013

Small Wars by Sadie Jones

Small Wars describes the involvement of the British forces in Cyprus during the 1950s, and the effects of army policy on those caught up in it all - in particular the soldiers and their wives.

The novel concerns Major Hal Traherne, a promising young officer, and what happens when his wife arrives on the island with their twin daughters. The army compound where they are housed with other army families should be a safe environment, but there is the perpetual problem with any kind of war - long spells of tedium broken up by moments of violence and terror.

The Cypriot rebels use guerrilla tactics often resulting in British casualties before vanishing into the mountains. To maintain control the British have to come down hard on the rebels. Hal cannot discuss the terrible things he sees with Clara, so the war becomes a wedge between them, affecting their marriage. The characters struggle to maintain a facade of normal life as the violence around them intensifies. This eventually explodes into the world of Hal and Clara, throwing them into a crisis that has life-changing effects.

Small Wars is a gripping novel and Sadie Jones does well at recreating what it might have been to live in a largely forgotten corner of British colonial history.

Posted by JAM

Check catalogue and reserve online
Small Wars by Sadie Jones, 2009

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