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The Red Planet

Amazon.com Price: $19.00 (as of 29/10/2020 13:15 PST- Details)

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Description

For those expecting a science fiction story or the kind of light-heartedness that characterizes the other works by William John Locke, The Red Planet will certainly seem like an unusual book. It is not about travelling to Mars or anything even remotely similar – it is a disturbing and gloomy story about how war has a devastating and crippling effect on the life of anyone facing it and about how World War I distorted even the most important human values.

The novel is set in rural England during World War I and it tells about what life was like in the area back then. The story reflects the point of view of a disabled veteran from the Boer War, Major Duncan Meredyth and it is a really rich, dense story, with varied and complex characters. One of the principal values that govern the mentality of the characters is patriotism – the reader will find long speeches by the narrator about what loving the country should mean – , but the story is not short of mysteries either and the way the relationships that link the characters to each other are depicted in a complex way, too.

William John Locke was born in 1863 in British Guyanna. His family moved to Trinidad the following year and sent him to England to school at the age of 3. Locke returned to Trinidad 9 years later, then went back to England again in 1881 to study mathematics at Cambridge University. He published his first, not particularly successful novel in 1894. A number of other novels followed, then in 1917 he published The Red Planet – an instant success and a best seller in Britain as well as in the U.S. Locke’s name surely rings familiar for those who enjoy stories set during World War I and II – many of Locke’s books on the topic have been adapted to film, the latest one being Ladies in Lavender, starring Dame Judi Dench and Maggie Smith.

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