I’ve always been fascinated by the First World War era, but after the extensive research I’ve done, I’m even more enthralled and awed. It was a time of cataclysmic events and rapid change. Patriotic and idealistic young men went by the millions into the hell of trench warfare. Too many never returned, and those who did were forever changed. Young women escaped from stifling Victorian parlours to new freedom and opportunities, while losing brothers, husbands, or sweethearts. Rickety airplanes that could barely stay aloft were, within four years, transformed into swift and deadly fighting machines. Dealing with the unprecedented carnage on the battlefields, medicine had to devise new ways to save men as well as rehabilitate them. And as if youth hadn’t sacrificed and suffered enough, the virulent Spanish Influenza, contrary to form, killed a disproportionate number of people in their 20s and 30s.
I hope that I managed to convey this in Elusive Dawn. Those of all nations who lived through this era, as well as those who died, deserve to be remembered and honoured. Not many generations are so tested and cursed.
If you ever have the opportunity to visit northern France or Belgium, I would recommend that you stop at one of the many WWI cemeteries and take a few moments to read the names and ages of those who “poured out the red sweet wine of youth”, as Rupert Brooke so aptly said before himself becoming a victim of the "war to end all wars".