Two Storm Wood
by Philip Gray
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Pub Date 13 Jan 2022 | Archive Date 2 Nov 2022
Random House UK, Vintage, Harvill Secker
'One of the most evocative thrillers I've ever read. The writing is superb - shades of Hollinghurst and Pat Barker combine in a taut, finely plotted mystery. The battlefield is almost a character in itself, and the presence of its dead disturbed me throughout. Be warned - this dark, intelligent story is very hard to put down. Haunting, cinematic, and utterly gripping' - D.B. John, author of Star of the North
An extraordinarily atmospheric and page-turning historical thriller.
In 1919, on the desolate battlefields of northern France, thousands of soldiers undertook the immense and dangerous task of gathering up the dead for mass burial.
Two Storm Wood follows the stories of three British people whose lives have been affected by war in very different ways: a young woman who boldly sets out to find out what happened to her fiancé, who went missing in action; a soldier tasked with co-ordinating the retrieval of the dead; and a detective sent to investigate what appears to be a series of murders in the empty, devastated landscape.
Unmissable high-quality historical fiction of the best kind.
Average rating from 57 members
This is an unusual war story, set in the aftermath of WW1 in France where teams of soldiers work through the abandoned battlefields trying to find and identify the dead. Philip Gray brings the hardship and devastation of everyday life into clear focus as he draws us into the story of Amy Vanneck, searching for her missing fiancee in France. The plot twists and turns as we discover that a murderer is at large and Amy's life is in peril as she unwittingly uncovers clues to his identity.
This is a well-written, taut thriller as well as a tribute to the early work of the Imperial War Graves Commission. It stayed with me long after I had finished it and I would recommend it without hesitation.
I loved this book it had me gripped right until the end. From what seems like a fairly typical post-war story, a woman search for her missing lover it sets off in a direction that completely misled me and kept me guessing all the way through. Historically accurate with clever characters, It twists and turns the whole way and highlights the lack of understanding experienced by the people left in Britain and the horror of the soldier's experience. Amy, the main character is believable and fearless. I recommend this.
Two Storm Wood is set in post-WW1 and is about a young woman looking for her missing fiancée, a captain soldier. The plot includes flashbacks of war in action and blossoming romance between two individuals of different social status.
Philip Gray brought out the foul and horrendous reality of war (during and post) by this well thought-out and well-researched book of "Two Storm Wood". This book is particularly equipped by such delicate yet clear way of storytelling that any reader will find addicting. The author does not stop at just sharing his story, he also made sure we will be able to look through the very eyes and feel the very emotions of each characters. Not just that, I also loved how this book somehow able to depict the partiality between races, social classes, and political beliefs. The mood is dark; the tone and motivation of characters are even darker yet the depiction of opportunity for people to shift beliefs and hold on to their never-ending faith and determination at the face of hurdle are one of the strong points in this book.
I honestly cannot put this book down! Two Storm Wood knows how to bombard you with tingles and thrilling twists that will left your jaw hanging. I am looking forward for more works from Philip Gray!
Thank you Netgalley and Random House UK, Vintage for the opportunity to read and provide my fair and honest review for this masterpiece.
A gripping drama set during and shortly after the First World War. A very strong-willed heroine searches for her missing fiance. Captures the atmosphere of trench warfare well. Lots of suspense, many twists and turns lead to a dramatic conclusion.
A fast paced thriller set in the immediate post war period of World War One where a young aristocratic women against her families advice goes to the battlefields of France to look for the body of her fiancé who has been reported missing in action.
Her stalwart approach annoys the army officials who are tasked with the horrendous job of recovering the bodies of these soldiers and trying to identify them and then burying in the cemetery’s that have been commissioned by the War Graves Commission..
During her time in the battlefield she encounters two army officers.One who is tasked in coordinating the retrieval of the thousands of bodies left in the battlefields of France and the second one who is a detective tasked with investigating a horrific find relating to a massacre that was perceived as not a war crime but murder.
It is one of those books that you just could not put down.
The ending is absolutely brilliant and not one you would expect.
Lovers of Caroline Scott Photographer of the Lost will absolutely love this book.
I was a little apprehensive going in to read this book, as it was way out of my usual comfort zone, despite the fact that I love to read factual books on both WW1 and WW2. But it had only taken me a couple of pages to realise how much the book was drawing me in, with both the smooth flow of the Authors words and the tale that was unfolding before me.
The horror elements of the book were amazing, the feeling of being watched by the millions of dead on the battlefields was always with you, as the mystery of the story unfolded. I found myself picturing how I would act and be there, in those situations, and truly I could never picture the 40 year old me doing what Amy does.
A Brilliant Book!
An atmospheric thriller full of twists and turns. Would make an excellent film! I saw the final twist coming but it made an excellent ending. One of the best books I’ve read this year.
Hellfire, this is seriously good! It is well researched, with accurate descriptions , not only of the horrors of trench warfare, but very sympathetic to the family members left in limbo, where are their loved ones? If reported missing, that doesn’t give closure, if dead, where has the body been buried, was there enough body to identify, is there a marked grave or was it left to rot on the battlefield.
This story is told via two timelines, pre and post World War One. Amy Vanneck is a young lady from a privileged background, who meets Edward Haslam, a music teacher. Despite being from opposite ends of the social scale, they fall in love and become engaged. Edward then gets the call to fight, and is later reported as missing in action. Amy decides to go to France, to find and bury his body.
The central emphasis is upon a body of men, who were tasked by the Directorate of Graves Registration, to scour the battlefields, looking for burial sites, then to exhume the bodies in order to rebury them in the cemeteries that have been newly created by the War Graves Commission.
Death and decay are constant companions in this thought provoking novel. We start with the men in the hospitals who are undergoing pioneering facial reconstruction for terrible wounds and disfigurements. The unpleasant and distasteful job of finding bodies and transporting them to the cemeteries, the sheer cruelty of war, that can leave men feeling hardly human, the various ways they cope with these feelings, alcohol, prostitutes and opiates, the cheapness of life, hardships and privations, no wonder these men hardly ever spoke of their experiences.
My father had two uncles who fought at Ypres, one was discharged with trench foot , one of which had to be amputated and the other returned home very briefly after the war and emigrated to Australia and no one heard from him again.
This is a brutally unflinching account of war, from a perspective that I hadn’t considered before. I admire the actions of wanting relatives to have a body to mourn, even if they couldn’t be returned home. Looking at all the hard work and effort that goes into the maintenance of war graves today, makes you feel that they were honoured in death, whilst being treated so harshly in war.
I admired all the knowledge that went into this novel. Like all good murder mysteries, there is a sense of unease underlying this story, the feeling that, could men be that heartless to each other, or was it the sheer effort that went into their survival made them act so contemptuous towards officers and their orders? A theme to be discussed further.
I will leave reviews to Goodreads and Amazon. I will recommend this to my local library when we are allowed to mix freely again. A five star read. Thank you to Netgalley and Random House UK, for my advance copy in exchange for my honest opinion.
I really enjoyed this book. I loved the pace of it and the different narrative perspectives.
This one was my first book by Philip Gray but it certainly won’t have been my last.
I loved this book. I have read a lot of books about the Great War, and it is refreshing to read something set in the period after the war. The author conjures up a real sense of a destroyed country, and people shattered by their experiences, and the storyline is both compelling and shocking. A great thriller, and one I will definitely be recommending.