Author(s): William Ryan
The pain woke him up. He was grateful for it. The train had stopped and somewhere, up above them, the drone of aircraft engines filled the night sky. He could almost remember her smile ...It must be the morphine ...He had managed not to think about her for months now. 1944. Paul Brandt, a soldier in the German army, returns wounded and ashamed from the bloody chaos of the Eastern front to find his village home much changed and existing in the dark shadow of an SS rest hut - a luxurious retreat for those who manage the concentration camps, run with the help of a small group of female prisoners who - against all odds - have so far survived the war. When, by chance, Brandt glimpses one of these prisoners, he realizes that he must find a way to access the hut. For inside is the woman to whom his fate has been tied since their arrest five years before, and now he must do all he can to protect her. But as the Russian offensive moves ever closer, the days of this rest hut and its SS inhabitants are numbered. And while hope - for Brandt and the female prisoners - grows tantalizingly close, the danger too is now greater than ever. And, in a forest to the east, a young female Soviet tank driver awaits her orders to advance ...
A gripping, powerful tale of love and survival set against the final bitter weeks of the Nazi regime. Perfect for fans of C. J. Sansom's Winter in Madrid.
A book of great moral seriousness and a tense and grippingly atmospheric thriller, The Constant Soldier is a brilliant evocation of the price of redemption and the cost of guilt. An important book but one that reads with all the panache and skill of a thriller. Highly recommended Stav Sherez (author of The Devil's Playground) A gripping story of the struggle for humanity in the last days of the war. Ryan makes you think, makes you feel and makes you turn the page Michael Ridpath (author of Where the Shadows Lie) The Constant Soldier is a nuanced, complex and gripping tale of guilt and love that captures the chaos at the end of WWII A.L. Kennedy (author of Costa Award Winning novel, DAY) The Constant Soldier is an elegant and powerful novel which sheds light upon a bleak and lesser known period of the war... William Ryan has conjured up both a gripping love story and thriller Richard Foreman (author of Warsaw) William Ryan writes with a simple, elegant and utterly poetic style that just immerses you totally into the reading experience of it. Character study, setting, plot, everything working on every level, that is the bottom line. If that wasn't enough he's telling a fictional story here with its basis very firmly in fact and taking you back to a time of war, a world in turmoil, men and women living on the edge of reason and he makes it all so real and in the moment and so completely present that you could almost imagine it was happening around you right now. That is not technical writing skill that is creative genius right there ... The story itself is emotive, thought provoking and completely engaging first page to last ... The plot is taut and authentic, the descriptive prose practically flawless Liz Loves Books The Constant Soldier is an extraordinary novel, with the intensity and pace of a thriller, and a wisdom and subtlety all of its own. I was gripped to the very last page Antonia Hodgson A superbly tense thriller - Ryan captures the terror and chaos of the collapsing Nazi regime in prose that is both spare and powerful Ruth Downie From the first chapter, The Constant Soldier is a thoroughly engrossing, page-turning beauty of a novel. Ryan's glorious telling of this astonishing and haunting story is memorable Kate Mayfield Ryan has written a tour de force. A chilling account of civilian and military life amid the collapse of the Third Reich, Ryan's book makes for compelling, even mesmerising reading. From the icy winter wind to the bleak landscape, from the war weary SS officers and the terrified camp prisoners to the cynical, maimed hero, Ryan's world feels frighteningly authentic. I couldn't put it down. And as for the final scene...well, I defy you not to shed a tear. A bloody great read! Ben Kane Ryan has created a dark world of moral ambiguity that is both shocking and fascinating. The Constant Soldier is a richly vivid, gripping and sophisticated WW2 thriller Elizabeth Fremantle, author of Queen's Gambit With its intriguing set up, subtly complex characters and Ryan's sharp eye for detail, The Constant Soldier had me enthralled from the very first page. A beautifully crafted story that will leave you breathless Jason Hewitt, author of Devastation Road
William Ryan was called to the English bar after university in Dublin, then worked as a lawyer in the City. His crime novels The Holy Thief, The Bloody Meadow and The Twelfth Department, set in 1930s Stalinist Russia, have been shortlisted for the Theakston's Crime Novel of the Year Award, the CWA New Blood Dagger, the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Dagger, the Irish Fiction Award, and twice for the Ireland AM Irish Crime Novel of the Year Award. His books have been translated into over a dozen languages. William is married and lives in west London. The Constant Soldier is a standalone novel.