The Somme Stations

Andrew Martin

The Somme Stations

On the first day of the Somme enlisted railwayman Jim Stringer lies trapped in a shell hole, smoking cigarette after cigarette under the bullets and the blazing sun. He calculates his chances of survival – even before they departed for France, a member of Jim's unit had been found dead. During the stand-off that follows, Jim and his comrades must operate by night the vitally important trains carrying munitions to the Front, through a ghostly landscape of shattered trees where high explosive and shrapnel shells rain down. Close co-operation and trust are vital. Yet proof piles up of an enemy within, and as a ferocious military policeman pursues his investigation into the original killing, the finger of accusation begins to point towards Jim himself... 4.0 out of 5 based on 2 reviews
The Somme Stations

Omniscore:

Classification Fiction
Genre Crime, Thrillers & Mystery, Historical Fiction
Format Hardback
Pages 304
RRP £12.99
Date of Publication March 2011
ISBN 978-0571249602
Publisher Faber & Faber
 

On the first day of the Somme enlisted railwayman Jim Stringer lies trapped in a shell hole, smoking cigarette after cigarette under the bullets and the blazing sun. He calculates his chances of survival – even before they departed for France, a member of Jim's unit had been found dead. During the stand-off that follows, Jim and his comrades must operate by night the vitally important trains carrying munitions to the Front, through a ghostly landscape of shattered trees where high explosive and shrapnel shells rain down. Close co-operation and trust are vital. Yet proof piles up of an enemy within, and as a ferocious military policeman pursues his investigation into the original killing, the finger of accusation begins to point towards Jim himself...

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Reviews

The Daily Telegraph

Benjamin Evans

This latest instalment once again brings northern humour, trains and murder together in a richly satisfying manner, although it may be too lean of plot pyrotechnics for demanding thrill-seekers arriving late to Martin’s series. The untidy, humorous mundanity of everyday life is where he finds his ground base, and here he gets hundreds of small details – the men pining for their Woodbines while under attack, for example – seamlessly right.

27/02/2011

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The Sunday Times

Peter Parker

You read Martin not merely for his careful sowing of clues and the satisfying unravelling of his complex plots, but for something more organically satisfying: a lost world brought back to life. It is essentially a northern industrial working-class world with its own workplace hierarchies, its patient ambitions, its laconic asides and its straightforward pride in a skilled job well done, all of which carry over into the war. Martin’s thoroughgoing knowledge and understanding of this world will draw in even those readers who imagine themselves immune to the beautifully observed technical intricacies of operating steam railways.

02/03/2011

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