Only the Dead will Know Peace by Jim Main
Two Australian mates march off to war, fall in love with the same woman and make a pact. But only one survives and, many years later, in honouring the pact the survivor becomes entangled in a deadly web of intrigue. Ted Paxman fights for his survival against forces – the British Union of Fascists and the Irish Republican Army – waging a frantic power struggle, and discovers only he can stop an event that would change the world forever. His desperate race against time takes him to England, the United States, Ireland and finally Scotland. Only The Dead is an action-packed, suspense-filled thriller spiced with romance. The ending is as surprising as it is moving.
I was given this book by the writer’s publisher to read and review. The book covers a time span from during and after the First World War to twenty years or so later. It is a very original story with descriptions of the end of the war, some violence, but not overly done, romantic pledges, political intrigue, and a touch of terrorism. He hero of the tale is an Australian Barrister who fought in the war and returns later to England on a somewhat strange quest. He is brave and adaptable to any circumstance and ends up travelling to America, Ireland and Scotland and having the adventure of his life.
The pace of the book is excellent and at times exciting and a bit frantic, and there is a realistic description of a desperate storm in the Irish Sea. There has obviously been a lot of research put into the writing of the book, and the descriptions of London and New York and parts of Ireland paint very good word pictures. The conclusion ties up all the ends neatly and there is tragedy averted and a satisfying ending.
There are times however when I feel the writer has tried too hard to date the language and the dialogue to the era and this has, particularly in the direct speech conversations, and the word order in verb clauses, come across as very stilted. There are not enough contractions in the direct speech to make it sound natural and colloquial, and it is not too comfortable to read.
Apart from the problems in some of the use of language, this is a good old fashioned adventure