Troubador Theatres of War

Released: 01/09/2013

ISBN: 9781783060849

eISBN: 9781783068623

Format: Paperback/eBook

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Theatres of War

A novel set in wartime Italy


On the landing beaches at Salerno in September 1943, two soldiers face the German bombardment together but they come from different worlds: Frank grew up in the backstreets of London but he’s clever and is now an officer; Edmund is a cricketer from a landed family.

Vermillion had fallen for Edmund in Cairo where she monitored German communications. Desperate to see him again, she gets transferred to war-torn Naples. But when Frank discovers an abandoned theatre and stages a revue, she can’t stay away. It proves such a success that Frank is ordered to stay in Naples and put on more shows. Vermillion joins him and her life becomes enmeshed with both men.

While Edmund fights in the bitter winter battles near Monte Cassino, Frank dreams of staging an opera. Vermillion still loves Edmund, but she doesn’t want him running her life. And working with Frank, she experiences the independence she’s longed for.

Vermillion feels fulfilled, but a time is soon coming when she’ll have to choose…

Theatres of War is a love story about sacrifice and duty, and a war story about self-discovery and love. Seen through the eyes of combatants and civilians, it evokes the convulsions of the ‘forgotten’ Italian campaign of World War II. It makes a gripping read for anyone with an interest in historical wartime novels, Italy, opera and love stories.

This Is Local London, 14 June

Express, 18 May

Ham & High, March 5

Buzz Magazine

Historical Novel Society

Goodreads, 4 January

Amazon, 7 November

Amazon, 5 November

Amazon, 25 October

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R J J Hall

I began to write soon after retiring as a chartered accountant. Two high points from that career - being Finance Director at the Royal Opera House and two years living and working in Milan - influenced what I chose to write about.

I had read about the re-opening of the San Carlo theatre after the liberation of Naples in 1943 and also about the grim fighting at Monte Cassino. Both stories had moved me intensely and these feelings were heightened by the contrast between events that were happening only fifty miles apart. Then, unbidden, came the idea of a young woman linked to two soldiers: one fighting at Cassino; the other running a theatre in Naples. I became determined to write the story. The result was Theatres of War which won The People's Book Prize (Fiction) 2013/14.

Although I had written Theatres of War as a single novel with no thought of returning to the subject, I found myself wondering what happened to the characters after May 1944. The only way to find out was to write a second novel. The result is Embers of War, which follows on from Theatres of War but is self-contained and can be read on its own.

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