1944. After the fall of Russia and the failed D-Day landings, half of Britain is occupied...Young farmer's wife Sarah Lewis wakes to find her husband has disappeared, along with all of the men from her remote Welsh village. A German patrol arrives in the valley, the purpose of their mission a mystery. Sarah begins a faltering acquaintance with the patrol's commanding officer, Albrecht, and it is to her that he reveals the purpose of his mission - to claim an extraordinary medieval art treasure that lies hidden in the valley. But as the pressure of the war beyond presses in on this isolated community, this fragile state of harmony is increasingly threatened.
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(242mm x 162mm x 30mm)
Faber & Faber
Publisher: Faber & Faber
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US Kirkus Review »
In an atmospheric alternative history of World War II, the Nazis invade Great Britain, but a false peace lingers in one remote Welsh valley.British author Sheers's sensitive fiction debut pits the harsh, lyrical beauty of the natural world against the unnatural, ultimately unavoidable cruelties of war. As his story opens in the fall of 1944, the Germans are spreading across southern England after defeating the Allies at Normandy. A long-planned British resistance operation is set in motion: Overnight, seven men with farms in the Olchon valley on the Welsh borders disappear, leaving their wives to manage the backbreaking work of tending crops and animals and to wonder unceasingly about their husbands' well-being. Soon cultured, English-speaking Captain Albrecht Wolfram and his troop of five soldiers arrive on a mysterious mission. Wolfram, skeptical of the Nazi Party's "quasi-biblical language" and "banal certainty," recognizes that this ancient, secluded valley offers him and his men a haven from the war. Instead of behaving like occupiers, they help the women through a harsh winter. Wolfram's warm friendship with a young sheep farmer, Sarah Lewis, is only the most prominent of the developing relationships that lead a young member of the resistance to discern signs of collaboration among the valley women. After a period of stasis, the inevitable rude awakening ensues. There will be no happy endings.Not really a conventional war drama, but an oblique, enigmatic ode to Welsh culture, landscape and loyalties. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Owen Sheers
Owen Sheers has written two collections of poetry, The Blue Book and Skirrid Hill. His non-fiction includes The Dust Diaries and Calon: A Journey to the Heart of Welsh Rugby. His novel Resistance has been translated into ten languages and was made into a film in 2011. His plays include The Passion and The Two Worlds of Charlie F. He has been a NYPL Cullman Fellow, Writer in Residence for the Wordsworth Trust and Artist in Residence for the Welsh Rugby Union.