Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Valley of Bones - post I

Despite the mauling Dance to the Music of Time received in the Sunday Times at the weekend I am determined to press on and finish the series.

Book 7, The Valley of Bones, starts with a refreshing difference because it includes none of the established characters. Jenkins is in barracks with a mixed bag of territorial army officers waiting to see what part they will play in the war.

Despite war being declared so far a great deal of the action has been of a clerical nature and Jenkins is stuck training up his platoon rather than actually anywhere dodging bullets.

Until an older officer arrives Jenkins is one of the oldest and is made to feel slightly isolated because of his university education and profession as an author and literary critic.

His desire along with everyone else is to do their bit fighting Hitler but the start of the book sees him no nearer to a battleground than the drill square.

There are so many echoes of the wartime world painted by Evelyn Waugh in Officers and Gentlemen and it is hard not to read this book without making comparisons that so far are even between the two.

More tomorrow…

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