This book tells the story of Stephen Wraysford and the events that shape his life during WWI, the Great War. Starting in pre-war France and moving on in time, it deals with Stephen's experiences in love and war. It begins in 1910 when Steven discovers his first love. It's not so much love, however, more a young man's lust idealized as love. And, that, sadly, was to be interrupted by war. It will provide much necessary yearning for the young Steven who goes off to that terrible war.
The battlefield scenes are very descriptive, making difficult reading at times, as the reader is engulfed in the trenches and tunnels as if witnessing the carnage and the brutalities of War first hand. Stephen loses more and more of his innocence and humanity, and looks upon death as expected rather than feared. As his humanity diminishes in the face of the horridness of battle and the claustrophobia of the tunnels he finally experiences a resurgence of the will to live. Life, however, will be far different than what he imagined before the war to end all wars.
The only part of the book I didn't like was, that after reading almost half of the the book set in WWI times, the story flashes forward to 1979 and Stephen's grandaughter and her search for information on her deceased grandfather. While there was some interesting aspects of her story, I felt like it just didn't belong.
The book, though, is an admirable novel of WWI of which there are too few. WWI truly should have been a warning for the future but sadly.....we now have drones and a supposedly sanitized way of war. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning why we should abandon warfare.