26 December 2017

Michel and Henry Go to War

Action & Adventure
War & Military

By Avan Judd Stallard

Paperback 225 pages
Publisher Baby Blue Goat (30th Jan 2018)
ISBN-13 978-0648140856

📕My Review

Michel, the illegitimate French President's son, forbidden by his father from joining active service in WWI, uses an assumed identity and instead joins the British Army. He teams up with soldier Henry and together the duo form an unlikely alliance. During some much needed rest and recuperation in the mountains, they uncover a German plot to destroy French munitions and are thrust back into the horrors of war once again.

Although very competently written, I struggled to fully immerse myself into this book. I found the soldiers' language extremely crude and expletive-riddled. Rather than adding to the book's authenticity, it was distracting and unnecessary. Parts were excessively vulgar and degrading - one description in particular (chapter 5) left me speechless!

The book was well-constructed and had plenty of action, although some parts dragged a little. Personally, I like to be able to empathise with the characters I'm investing my time in, but due to their vulgarity and crudeness, I found it impossible. Whereas I'm sure plenty of other readers will love the escapades of Michel and Henry, it probably wasn't the best 'fit' for my reading tastes.

My thanks to author Avan Judd Stallard for providing a copy of this book.

N.B. Since reviewing this book, it has been retitled 'No Trench To Rest'.

Barnsey's Books Rating 

📗The Blurb

A Frenchman in the British Army fighting Germans on the Western Front? That’d be a bastard—the illegitimate son of the French President, forbidden by father to join the fray.

Under an assumed name, Michel joins anyway. Except now he cannot escape the war that follows every step of the way as he and Henry—his comrade in arms—seek rest and recuperation in the mountains.

Instead of wine and women, they find Germans and a secret plot to destroy France’s hub of munitions production. Cut off and outnumbered, they recruit a motley army comprising a women’s auxiliary and an old farmer with a big rifle and bad attitude.

There’ll be no rest for these soldiers, not until Michel and Henry go to war.

📘The Author

Despite his name—which confuses people the world over—Avan is not Russian, Welsh or Israeli. He was born and raised in the south-west corner of Australia, where he was surrounded by countless books, animals and chainsaws, though which of those had the greatest influence is still up for debate.

As a boy he watched Rumpole of the Bailey and Matlock on their two-channel TV, and dreamed of lawyering (and, of course, more channels). He subsequently went to one of Australia’s most beautiful universities, where he thoroughly sullied a law degree.

Having realized that no number of contracts and forms would ever add up to whatever Matlock and Perry Mason did, he pursued a passion for history with a PhD (at a university famed for its ponds filled with enormous and very hungry eels). He taught and won several academic awards, all while putting home-made bread on the table by working as a mover of furniture (his speciality was destroying anything made by Ikea; he is still available to perform this service, gratis).

Avan now works as an editor—a job that was strangely absent from the TV of his youth. His TV is now a lot bigger and has more channels. He and his wife (also not Russian, despite her Russian name) live in the north of Spain where Avan has been known to take a long winter dip in the cold Atlantic, after which his words are always slurred, though only sometimes on the page.

Along with The French Bastard action–adventure thriller series, he is the author of Antipodes: In Search of the Southern Continent, a history from Monash University Publishing, and the forthcoming novel, Spinifex & Sunflowers, from Fremantle Press. Avan continues to write novels, some of which he publishes.

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