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Remembered Today:

Ben Elton's book


uncle bill
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Browsing amazon yesterday I saw that Ben Elton has published a novel based on the Great War. From the synopsis I can't see myself rushing out to get this one.

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It had a very poor review in the paper I saw over the weekend.

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one of the main characters is an officer who writes poetry...............

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I saw this and I thought "Oh no, not another mud, blood and futility novel with the lead character filled with angst over what constitutes murder when people are doing this to each other in the name of King and Country." I didn't buy it.

Actually, the basic premise - trying to solve a murder while not only the witnesses but also the investigator and the hidden "true culprit" are unavoidably walking into situations in which they are highly likely to die before the truth is known (and let's face it, 3rd Ypres was not the nicest of battles) - sounded pretty good. It's just that the way it's been constructed seemed like a bunch of politically correct '****'.

Is the poetry-writing officer gay in the novel?

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here's the synopsis. Looks pretty far fetched to me...

Flanders, June 1917: a British officer and celebrated poet, is shot dead, killed not by German fire, but while recuperating from shell shock well behind the lines. A young English soldier is arrested and, although he protests his innocence, charged with his murder. Douglas Kingsley 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. Forced to conduct his investigations amidst the hell of The Third Battle of Ypres, Kingsley 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 which 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 evermore blurred, Kingsley quickly learns that the first casualty when war comes is, truth.

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Ben Elton was on Steve Wright in the afternoon earlier this week discussing his book. The main character is also a conciencious (sp.!) objector, and a Sherlock Holmes type, who is released from prison and sent to Ypres to solve a murder in the front line.

He certainly showed plenty of enthusiasm about his subject, but then again he would. I got the impression that he was attempting to cover a little too much in a novel, but his eloquence certainly raised my curiosity enough that if I see it on the bookshelves I would pick it up and read a little. Whether I would buy it....

An interesting part of the interview, and the reason thet Elton qualified his interest in the Great War, was the fact that both his Grandfathers fought, one for the British and the other spending four years in the front-line fighting for the German army. This latter GF was Jewish and fled the nazi's to come to England after the war.

He certainly semed to know his subject and again it would be interesting to see if this knowledge is reflected in the detail of the book.

Steve.

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Of course Ben is related to the famous historian Professor Elton whose books I waded through while studying the Tudors and Stuarts - but I must agree that this book will not be on the top of my wants list. Sounds like a 50p charity shop buy in a year or so.

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Perhaps it would be fairer to actually read the book then provide a review rather than speculate on what it might contain based on a synopsis and a radio interview.

You never know you may be pleasantly surprised

Lesley

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Perhaps it would be fairer to actually read the book then provide a review rather than speculate on what it might contain based on a synopsis and a radio interview.

You never know you may be pleasantly surprised

Lesley

Who's willing to cough up the money for though? I don't think I would be. :unsure:

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Ben is related to the famous historian Professor Elton whose books I waded through while studying the Tudors and Stuarts

Is that so? What relation?

'Reformation Europe'.... groan .... I've still got it!

Gwyn

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Not half as rude as Ben Elton was about Benny Hill blaming him for sex attacks on women when i might add Ben Elton was trying to make a name for himself as an alternative comedian which basically meant slagging everyone and everything off--remember those boringly unfunny days?

Hmm - I remember those distant days of big hair and shoulder pads Nigel (the women were pretty outrageous too :blink: ), New Romantic pop (what was that all about?), and alt. comedy. They did call the 80s "The Decade That Taste Forgot", and never was an era better named. But yes, have to admit I was never too keen on Elton. And I'm not tempted to read his book.

Jim

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Well I happened to see this in the library the other day, so I thought I would have a look at it. My considered opinion?

Hokum, total hokum.

I consider myself a total Great War novice, but I must know an awful lot more than I think I do because I picked up a whole raft of howlers, right from chapter 1 through to an absolute corker at the end. I'm sure more knowledgeable pals would fnd much more. Mind you I tend to be a bit anal about historical accuracy - I can't believe in the story if I keep finding bits wrong in it.

It's a reasonably entertaining piece of brain candy, but that's about it.

Cas

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That'd be yer Harry Enfield, not yer Ben Elton

Ah now John, did you miss the irony in my post - or am I missing the irony in yours - or are we both being too bl***y ironic for our own good? Dashed if I know....

Jim

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Well Jim , we all know that irony detection systems do sometimes fail catastrophically on this Forum.

I think Ben may be a nephew or great nephew of the illustrious historian. Though the young Elton is certainly now the more boring by a considerable margin.

I note that he wrote a truly dreadful show on BBC tonight (Friday) A real stinker. A 30 minute Elton rant "mellowed" now that he is a family man and put into the mouths of previously pretty decent comedy actors who really should know better - but who obviously were not brave enough to end their careers by saying to Ben -"This stuff is utter rubbish".

I am afraid Ben (much interviewed recently on Radio 4 recently to puff the book and TV prog) joins the growing list of celebrities who are now so far up themselves that they are doomed to wander their own colons until the end of geological time.

I suppose he is too ashamed and angst ridden to just happily spend all the money and shut the hell up. He just has to keep "working".

Goodness, I really despise him. Rant over.

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Well Jim , we all know that irony detection systems do sometimes fail catastrophically on this Forum.

I think Ben may be a nephew or great nephew of the illustrious historian. Though the young Elton is certainly now  the more boring by a considerable margin.

I note that he wrote a truly dreadful show on BBC tonight (Friday) A real stinker. A 30 minute Elton rant "mellowed" now that he is a family man and put into the mouths of previously pretty decent comedy actors who really should know better - but who obviously were not brave enough to end their careers by saying to Ben -"This stuff is utter rubbish".

I am afraid Ben (much interviewed recently on Radio 4 recently to puff the book and TV prog) joins the growing list of celebrities who are now so far up themselves that they are doomed to wander their own colons until the end of geological time.

I suppose he is too ashamed and angst ridden to just happily spend all the money and shut the hell up. He just has to keep "working".

Goodness, I really despise him. Rant over.

I totally agree Ian except i would like to add i hope he suffers from real bad haemorides aswell which will give him the kind of pain we endure listening to his crap.

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Got to agree Nigel. I've always found him quite an obnoxious git, although possibly very talented.

Rich.

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:D hang on....has anyone actually read this book yet?

mythago had a 'look'

ben elton writes light comedic fiction not reference books

i hope he suffers from real bad haemorides aswell which will give him the kind of pain we endure listening to his crap.

dear me.... :blink:

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I did mean I had read it. :) I had never read any of his books before, but this certainly wasn't light comedic fiction. Having read this one, I'm not particularly tempted to read any more of his books. As I said, I think it's reasonably entertaining brain candy, if you can put your knowledge of historical events to one side, which I find to hard to do, unless the story's REALLY good.

I thought the hero's attitudes were far too modern and his protest about the war made me think more of Iraq than the Great War.

Cas

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