Published: 15/02/2018
ISBN: 9781788039055
Format: Paperback

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Home Before the Leaves Fall
by N L Collier

Offering a different perspective of the First World War, Home Before the Leaves Fall follows two young German soldiers as they struggle to survive during a period of danger and uncertainty.

August 1914: as war breaks out across Europe, German university student Franz Becker rushes to enlist. Franz is nineteen and the war appears to offer and adventure and the opportunity to escape from his dull, safe life. Franz’s closest friend, Karl von Leussow, is appalled by the conflict. Karl’s family has provided the Prussian Army with officers for generations and he knows that war is brutal and bloody. But Karl too enlists to defend his country.

After six weeks of inadequate training, the new recruits arrive in Ypres where intense fighting results in slaughter. Franz is profoundly shocked by the scenes he witnesses, but learns to fight for his life. Promoted to corporal and then sergeant, Franz rises up the military ranks until he is pressured to become an officer. Unwilling to take the ‘express ticket to eternity’, he refuses the role. Karl, who grew up hunting, becomes a sniper much to Franz’s dismay.

As aircraft – fragile structures built using wood and fabric – start to appear increasingly above the trenches, Franz starts to wonder what it would be like to fly and observe the war from above. When he applies for a transfer to the Air Service, Franz tries to persuade Karl to go with him, but his friend refuses. Both men get their wishes and are transferred. Before separating for the foreseeable future, the two go on leave together, perhaps for the final time.

N L Collier draws from extensive research to write a book that will appeal to readers that enjoy historical fiction, particularly that about the military. Home Before the Leaves Fall is the first book in The Flowers of the Grass series, which follows Franz from 1914 to the end of the war.

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