A Soldier’s Tale is a fictional semi-biography written about a British soldier ‘at large’ during the liberation of France.

Saul Scourby encounters a beautiful French woman at a farmhouse, and upon finding that the French resistance is determined to punish her for collaboration with the Germans, resolves to protect her. Of course, his motives are not entirely altruistic.

This is a slim but highly interesting book, and introduces a huge degree of social, political and sexual complexities to the reader in a short 150-odd pages.

For example, as it turns out the woman, Belle, is a collaborator with the Germans, but only insofar as she had a series of affairs with German officers. But, all of the Germans treat her well, while the French, English and American characters see her as either a commodity or a scapegoat. It’s fear of the French that cause her to tolerate Saul’s presence, and it’s merely fortunate that he finds her before the Americans.

A Soldier’s Tale is full of these type of complexities, and they are tightly woven in a story relayed from a listener to Scourby. It’s a simple but intriguing read, one that provides a glimpse into the harsh life of civilians in any war zone.

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