Friday, 21 March 2008

War Zones

WAR ZONES Helen Beaglehole, Steele Roberts (Box 9321 Wellington), 126 pages, paperback, $19.99 ISBN 1-877338-80-X
[Distributors: Southern Publishers Group]

So what did you do in the war, son? Me? Oh I visited my dad in prison.’
War Zones is a worthy novel about conscientious objectors in World War 2, concentrating on the effects on the families involved. Helen Beaglehole has faced up to the difficult task of conveying the enormity of the death-toll in the Great War and the way it persuaded some fine men to refuse to take part in World War 2.
Wisely, this story follows events through the eyes of young Tom Bullock who feels that, while his father may be in prison, it is his family which is suffering. ‘We had to leave Otaki because of you.’

Tom’s account of the torment he and his sister suffer make gripping reading. With its interesting characters, strong issues and carefully-crafted period detail, War Zones is a good historical novel hampered by a bad cover.

Trevor Agnew

This review first appeared in The Press, Christchurch, New Zealand on 18th March 2006.

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