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December 08 , 2007

The First Casualty


Two very different families, one English, one Spanish, find themselves caught in the crossfire of the Spanish Civil War. Torn apart by divided loyalties, both are forced to take sides in a conflict which threatens to destroy everything they hold dear.
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Linking them are Jack Austen, an ambitious working class journalist determined to make his name as a war correspondent, and Dolores (Dolly) Carrasquez, daughter of an English mother and a wealthy Nationalist landowner. The consequences of a brief illicit affair between a youthful Jack and Dolly will reach far into the future as he now finds himself compelled to find and rescue a woman he had sworn never to forgive, whose whereabouts are unknown but whose life he fears must be danger.

Meanwhile Dolly, now married with a child, has to face the repercussions of the choices she once made and employ desperate measures to ensure her own survival and that of her loved ones, including her two elder brothers, now on opposing sides.

As Jack and Dolly's paths continually fail to cross, their fates remain nonetheless entwined in ways neither are aware of till both are ultimately faced with irrevocable and heartbreaking decisions, affecting not only themselves but an interlinked network of supporting characters. Their inner conflicts reflect the tumult all around them as an action-packed narrative shifts between London, Madrid, Estramadura, Andalucia and the Basque Country.

As Jack and Dolly learn to their cost, the first casualty of war is truth, but it is the truth they must both confront at the end of their painful journeys towards self-knowledge.

'Skillfully conjures up a dramatic slice of history, spicing it with delicious irony, romance, and sharp-witted, complex characters' - Publishers' Weekly.

Originally published by The Bodley Head and Pan, this edition follows recent e-republication of YESTERDAY, and BAPTISM OF FIRE by the same author.
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