Covenant with Death
Covenant with Death is proclaimed by many as one of the best books about war ever written. World War I, also called the Great War, was intended as the war that would end all wars. But that wasn't what the First World War did. On the contrary, it was a massacre. More than one million people died during the battle of the Somme, and without a clear winner.
John Harris Covenant with Death tells the story of one particular battalion of volunteers during the naive war optimism in 1914, until its ultimate destruction during the first hostilities at the Somme. An anti-war novel that is often compared to All Quiet on the Western Front by German Erich Maria Remarque.
They joined for their country. They fought for each other.
When war breaks out in 1914, Mark Fenner and his Sheffield friends immediately flock to Kitchener's call. Amid waving flags and boozy celebration, the three men - Fen, his best friend Locky and self-assured Frank, rival for the woman Fen loves - enlist as volunteers to take on the Germans and win glory.
Through ramshackle training in sodden England and a stint in arid Egypt, rebellious but brave Fen proves himself to be a natural leader, only undermined by on-going friction with Frank. Headed by terse, tough Sergeant Major Bold, this group of young men form steel-strong bonds, and yearn to face the great adventure of the Western Front.
Then, on one summer's day in 1916, Fen and his band of brothers are sent to the Somme, and this very ordinary hero discovers what it means to fight for your life.
Stirringly told from the down-to-earth view of everyday soldiers, Covenant with Death is acclaimed as one of the greatest novels about war ever written. Now with a new foreword by Louis de Bernières, author of Captain Corelli's Mandolin.