The pain woke him up. He was grateful for it. The train had stopped and somewhere, up above them, the drone of aircraft engines filled the night sky. He could almost remember her smile . . . It must be the morphine . . . He had managed not to think about her for months now.
1944. Paul Brandt, a soldier in the German army, returns wounded and ashamed from the bloody chaos of the Eastern front to find his village home much changed and existing in the dark shadow of an SS rest hut – a luxurious retreat for those who manage the concentration camps, run with the help of a small group of female prisoners who – against all odds – have so far survived the war.
When, by chance, Brandt glimpses one of these prisoners, he realizes that he must find a way to access the hut. For inside is the woman to whom his fate has been tied since their arrest five years before, and now he must do all he can to protect her.
But as the Russian offensive moves ever closer, the days of this rest hut and its SS inhabitants are numbered. And while hope – for Brandt and the female prisoners – grows tantalizingly close, the danger too is now greater than ever.
And, in a forest to the east, a young female Soviet tank driver awaits her orders to advance . . .
I don’t read a great deal of books in this genre but having seen so many positive reviews from blogging buddies, I knew I had to read it for myself.
Brandt was someone I felt a lot of empathy for. He has served his time in the army and is lucky to still be alive. Sadly returning home has him feeling helpless until he is offered a job managing the concentration camps.
You really get the sense of how hard it is for people returning from the war trying to adjust to life back in familiar surroundings. Mainly because so many things have changed since they were away.
Brandt is quite a sensitive soul. Working in the camps opens his eyes to many atrocities that he is helpless to do anything about. He feels even more helpless when he sees a familiar face but he makes it his mission to do something about it.
You get to see so many different points of view in this book. From the women kept in the camps to the horrible brutes who happily deal out horrific punishments to undeserving victims. Through Brandt we are witness to it all and it makes for some heart wrenching reading.
The Constant Soldier is a powerful and emotive read. It’s a story that will grab you by the head and heart. Even though fiction, it still reminds us of a time in history that we should have sadly learned from.
Definitely one to add to your reading pile.
My thanks to the author and publisher for a copy of this book. All opinions are my own and not biased in anyway.
Goodreads rating 4/5 stars.
The Constant Soldier is available to purchase from Amazon.