The First Casualty – Book Review
At first, The First Casualty was just a title until I started reading, and remembering stories my Pop told me brought back one of his favourite sayings: The first casualty of war, he would say, is always the truth.
And so it is with Ben Elton’s touching novel.
Murder in war; Is it a paradox? A conundrum? A matter of philosophy or ethics?
Is it as complicated as the truth when it comes out, as convoluted or as confusing?
I didn’t expect a novel of depth from this author. I expected something satirical and light. Not a tale that took me in vividly, unashamedly graphic and uncompromising.
This does have a touch of the crime genre about it as Douglas Kingsley “dies” in jail and is sent over to solve the murder of an officer and aristocrat who was meant to be convalescing before being sent back to the front line.
There are many points to ponder, trying to solve the murder of one man while millions are slaughtered under orders. The pace is gripping and the action unstoppable, you’ll have to pause to draw breath at some point, look up from your book, bewildered by the fact that you’re at home or on the bus, the sun is streaming and there is chatter around you as life goes on.
Subtle at times, and oddly surprising at others, I’m glad that this Ben Elton work has been added to my ever expanding bookshelf.
Book Review by Jacq Ellem