The Penultimate Man by Malcolm Hollingdrake @MHollingdrake


With this short story I am proud to support The Royal British Legion at this historic time, the centenary of the conclusion of World War One. I hope you will forgive the brevity of this book but like many a soldier’s life, cut short in his prime, I hope that it will live in your memory, that the poignancy of this story allows you a minute of silence, a moment of reflection where you will remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for what they felt to be a true and just cause.

It was on a Monday, on the eleventh day of the eleventh month 1918, that the war to end all wars came to an end that was for the many, a blessed relief. The indelible physical and mental scars would be carried by those from all sides of the conflict, making their return to a normal life, seem uncertain and confused. It was a period in time when much was expected from the mere mortal.

However, it is to the few that this story relates. It is dedicated to those who had to die in those months, weeks, days, hours and minutes leading up to the ceasefire as well as to those who succumbed to their injuries after the larks sang again above the blood-red poppy fields. It is with The Penultimate Man we focus our attention, a man about to pay the ultimate price in those brief moments before the thunder of war ceased.
On 26th September, 2018, I shall pay homage to a man I never met, my great uncle, William Hollingdrake, who died that day in 1918 and is buried alongside friends in France. My great uncle, a man whose face to me is that of a stranger is a man who carried my very DNA, a man who came through the years from 1914 until that fateful day… so close to the cessation of hostilities and yet so far! As with every passing year, I shall remember him.

The audiobook to this story will also be released in aid of the charity. I am grateful to the support of many in enabling this short story to be brought to you. Thank you for your support.

Malcolm Hollingdrake.

My Thoughts:

The Penultimate Man is a short story of which took me less than half an hour to read. What I love about this book is not only does it support a very worthy charity but it also reminds us of a period of time that we should never ever forget.

The story itself is about a soldier who is trying his best to stay alive so he can see his beloved. You really get the whole sense of what is was like for the soldiers and the horrors that they had to face. It must have been so frightening as well as traumatic to see men that they had grown close to lose their lives. I don’t want to say to much about the story so as not to spoil it but for a short story it really packs some punches and certainly had me going through an array of emotions.

I really would urge people to read this book. Not only because it helps a great cause but because we owe it to the people who lost their lives and fought very much for our country. A great short story which shows how talented the author is to be able to get the atrocities of that era across to the reader within a matter of pages.

The Penultimate Man is available to purchase from Amazon.

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