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About the Author: Ben Elton

Ben Elton was born on 3 May 1959, in Catford, South London. The youngest of four, he went to Godalming Grammar school, joined amateur dramatic societies and wrote his first play at 15. He wanted to be a stagehand at the local theatre, but instead did A-Level Theatre Studies and studied drama at Manchester University in 1977.

His career as both performer and writer encompasses some of the most memorable and incisive comedy of the past twenty years. His ground breaking work as a TV stand-up comedian set the (high) standard of what was to follow. He has received accolades for his hit TV sit-coms, The Young Ones, Blackadder and The Thin Blue Line.

More recently he has had successes with three hit West End musicals, including the global phenomenon We Will Rock You. He has written three plays for the London stage, including the multi-award-winning Popcorn. Ben's international bestselling novels include Stark, Inconceivable, Dead Famous and High Society. He won the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger Award for the novel Popcorn.

Elton lives in Perth with his Aussie wife Sophie and three children.


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Goodreads rating: 3.83

Paperback, Published in May 2006 by Black Swan

ISBN10: 0552771309 | ISBN13: 9780552771306

Page count: 444

Flanders, June 1917: a British officer and celebrated poet, is shot dead, killed not by German fire, but while recuperating from shell shock well behind the lines. A young English soldier is arrested and, although he protests his innocence, charged with his murder.

Douglas Kingsley is a conscientious objector, previously a detective with the London police, now imprisoned for his beliefs. He is released and sent to France in order to secure a conviction. Forced to conduct his investigations amidst the hell of The Third Battle of Ypres, Kingsley soon discovers that both the evidence and the witnesses he needs are quite literally disappearing into the mud that surrounds him.

Ben Elton's tenth novel is a gut-wrenching historical drama which explores some fundamental questions. What is murder? What is justice in the face of unimaginable daily slaughter? And where is the honour in saving a man from the gallows if he is only to be returned to die in a suicidal battle?

As the gap between legally-sanctioned and illegal murder becomes evermore blurred, Kingsley quickly learns that the first casualty when war comes is truth.

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