By The Hands of Men, Book One: The Old World by Roy M. Griffis

51kNawguR5L._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Lieutenant Robert Fitzgerald has managed to retain his sanity, his humanity, and his honor during the hell of WWI’s trench warfare. Charlotte Braninov fled the shifting storm of the impending Russian Revolution for the less-threatening world of field camp medicine, serving as a nurse in the most hopeless of fronts. Their friendship creates a sanctuary both could cling to in the most desperate of times. Historical fiction about life, loss, and love, By the Hands of Men explores the power that lies within each of us to harm – or to heal – all those we touch.

About the Author

Born in Texas City, TX, the son of a career Air Force meteorologist. Attended a variety of schools at all of the hot spots of the nation, such as Abilene, Texas and Bellevue, Nebraska.

Sent to my grandparent’s house in Tuscon, Arizona when things were tough at home. I was pretty lost, as my grandparents were largely strangers to me. My older brother, a more taciturn type, refused to discuss what was going on. Fortunately, like so many kids before me, I was rescued by literature. Or, at least, by fiction. In a tiny used bookstore that was just one block up from a dirt road, I discovered that some good soul had unloaded his entire collection of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “John Carter of Mars” series in Ballantine Paperback. Moved by some impulse, I spent my RC Cola money on the first book, “A Princess of Mars.”

I think what struck me was how these books were possessed of magic: they were able to transport me far from this dusty land of relatives who I didn’t know and relatives pretended not to know me to another dusty land of adventure, heroism, nobility, and even love. It was the first magic I’d encountered that wasn’t a patent fraud, and when I closed the stiff paperback with the lurid images on the cover, I decided it was the kind of magic I wanted to dedicate the rest of my life to mastering. And, thus, I was saved.

Along the way, I’ve done the usual starving artist jobs. Been a janitor, a waiter, a clerk in a bookstore. I was the 61st Aviation Rescue Swimmer in the Coast Guard (all that Tarzan reading wasn’t wasted). I’m also not a bad cook, come to think of it.

Currently, I’m a husband, father, and cat-owner. I’m an avid bicyclist and former EMT. I live in Southern California with my lovely wife. My friends call me “Griff,” my parents call me “Roy,” and my college-age son calls me “Dadman.” It’s a good life.

By the Hands of Men, Book Three: “The Wrath of a Righteous Man” will be released in May, 2016.

My Thoughts

About the time I discovered my grandfather’s role in WWI, I received a request from this author to review this beautiful novel set during The Great War.  Author Roy Griffis has the rare talent of writing vividly descriptive narrative which places the reader inside the scene as a nonparticipating character.  His impeccable research has allowed this novel to be compared to Hemingway’s A Farewell To Arms.

This novel begins on the battlefield during the Christmas Day truce, and takes off like a bullet thereafter.  Charlotte, a nurse, physically cares for Robert, an officer, man of mystery, and eventually emotionally cares for him.  Charlotte longs for him, and he her, the only bright spot in their war.  Eventually, they part, but not their hearts.  Even in deepest despair, Robert remembers the giver of a cross he wears around his neck.

I appreciate the author sharing the graphic gore of this war without the vulgarity.  If you are a romantic, lover of history, and appreciate great writing which could be described as classic, you will enjoy this excellent work.  I have the sequel to The Old World at my side, ready to open as soon as I complete this review.  I also look forward to the third book in this series to be published this year.

Bravo, Mr. Griffs!  Thank you for a copy in exchange for my review.

 

 

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