The First Casualty
From Ben Elton, author of the hugely successful Past Mortem, a gut-wrenching historical drama which forces us to handle the truth.
Flanders, June 1917: a British officer and celebrated poet is shot dead, killed not by German fire, but while he was recuperating from shell shock well behind the lines. A young English soldier is arrested and, although he protests his innocence, is charged with his murder.
Douglas Konig is a conscientious objector, previously a detective with the London police, now imprisoned for his beliefs. He is released and sent to France in order to secure a conviction in the case. Forced to conduct his investigations amid the hell of the third Battle of Ypres, Konig soon discovers that both the evidence and the witnesses he needs are quite literally disappearing into the mud that surrounds him.
Ben Elton’s tenth novel is a gut-wrenching historical drama that explores some fundamental questions. What is murder? What is justice in the face of unimaginable daily slaughter? And where is the honour in saving a man from the gallows if he is only to be returned to die in a suicidal battle?
As the gap between legally sanctioned and illegal murder becomes ever more blurred, Konig quickly learns that the first casualty of war is Truth.
Ben Elton's first historical thriller
"A work of formidable imaginative scope the writing is so good, the language so surprisingly subtle and the characters so beautifully delineated."
""Riveting action scenes bristle with a queasy energy unputdownable and disgustingly realistic."
"From the Paperback edition."
BEN ELTON's career as both performer and writer encompasses some of the most memorable and incisive comedy of the past twenty years. In addition to his hugely influential work as a stand-up comic, he is the writer of such TV hits as The Young Ones, Blackadder and The Thin Blue Line. Elton has written three musicals, The Beautiful Game, We Will Rock You and Tonight's the Night and three West End plays. His internationally bestselling novels include Popcorn, Inconceivable, Dead Famous and High Society. The First Casualty is his tenth novel.