The Absolutist - John Boyce
A masterfully told tale of passion, jealousy, heroism and betrayal set in the gruesome trenches of World War I.
It is September 1919: twenty-one-year-old Tristan Sadler takes a train from London to Norwich to deliver a package of letters to the sister of Will Bancroft, the man he fought alongside during the Great War.
But the letters are not the real reason for Tristan’s visit. He can no longer keep a secret and has finally found the courage to unburden himself of it. As Tristan recounts the horrific details of what to him became a senseless war, he also speaks of his friendship with Will—from their first meeting on the training grounds at Aldershot to their farewell in the trenches of northern France. The intensity of their bond brought Tristan happiness and self-discovery as well as confusion and unbearable pain.
The Absolutist is a masterful tale of passion, jealousy, heroism, and betrayal set in one of the most gruesome trenches of France during World War I. This novel will keep readers on the edge of their seats until its most extraordinary and unexpected conclusion, and will stay with them long after they’ve turned the last page.
John Boyce is known for his crushing stories and heart breaking narratives. He’s a brilliant writer, but that’s a given. The time line jumps from the war, where both Will and Tristan are fighting and suffering the immediate hypocrisy of the British trenches to the heart breaking after effects where Tristan has to recount the suffering pain.
It’s a brilliant read every page, perhaps not an urgent page turner but its consistency enables you to understand each character and understand their depth which can often be neglected by fast paced page turners. The novel focuses on the characters of the war rather than the horrors of the war itself.
Boyce is an author who you expect will make you cry, and he does. You feel a part of the story as Tristan recounts his painful and suffering both from the war, before and after.
The end, well, it all makes sense. It’s painful and almost unbearable but you’ll have to read to get to that bit. But, it’s worth reading just to get there.
The Perks Of Wallflower quotation ‘We accept the love we think we deserve’ is never better placed, because Tristan does not deserve what he gets.
One day, I’ll torture myself by re-reading this fantastic story but for novel I’ll keep the tear-jerking memory of the heart-broken Tristan Sadler and his story to myself.
“One single syllable of intimacy and the world is put to rights.”