Jack Mason Manchester, a leading figure in British literature, is at the center of one of the most intriguing and entertaining works of modern history. At the start of the 20th century, he was a frustrated writer. He had left his native Britain to seek work on the world’s largest ship, the Vaya. The experience was not a happy one, and he returned to England only to write two very successful books. Then came his great novel, “A Time To Kill,” which remains today one of the country’s best-selling novels.
In this classic novel, Mason is a British soldier who returns to his home from a long career in the war. After more than a year in the theater, he returns to the front line, where he again finds himself in a situation of conflict. Desperately wishing to end the suffering of his men, he puts off leaving his post. Instead, he is assigned to command a British detachment in the mountains, where he meets an intrepid young woman whose bravery serves as the inspiration for much of the book.
Mason’s character is both a victim and hero, taking a stand against the demoralizing policies of his government and of the destruction of his country’s landscape by the advancing German forces Jack Mason Manchester. Throughout the book he suffers from the effects of war and from mental illness. At one point he is committed to a mental asylum. At another, he is captured and taken prisoner by the German forces. The reader is kept captive by the suspense as he strives to escape and get back.
As he suffers greatly from his wounds, his faith in his fellow soldiers and his own ability to be a strong and self-sufficient man is shaken. He has a hard time accepting the fact that his body cannot fight off the Germans anymore and that death is almost guaranteed. One of the greatest themes of the book is Mason’s quest for spiritual immortality. His own belief in his own worth leads him to believe he can live and be a warrior. Eventually he realizes that only by accepting his death can he become fully immortal.
A final message from the author is a call to action. Following the death of his family and friends Jack Mason must try to live a “heroic” life by lending a hand to the British resistance. It is a touching moment of humanity that shows how people can still go on living despite the circumstances they find themselves in. The message is that we all have an opportunity to make a difference.
Fans of historical fiction will find this series to be engrossing, engaging, and thought provoking. History Buffs will enjoy learning more about the life of this well-known man. Readers who are not history buffs will enjoy the detailed account of the war and its effects. This is a superb novel written by Halliday.