Cited as an historical novel on WW1, the first 117 pages of Birdsong were nothing of the sort. It told a stirring, erotic love tale set in France, with not a whisper of the Great War. The unbridled passion was, however, consistently elegant and poetic. And then the full force of the desperate trench warfare unfolded with disturbing power. In his introduction Faulks confesses to using a tactic of full-out assault. He certainly attacks the senses. The claustrophobic horror of the tunnelling operations underneath the trenches was new to me and particularly harrowing. This is a vivid and compelling read and at times I felt figuratively drenched in blood and dark despair. I could not put the book down and many of the haunting images linger. I shall read it again.

Zander Heeger, Noordhoek