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Publisher's Summary

Six months after the sudden death of her husband, Leonora Galloway sets out on a trip to France with her daughter Penelope. At last the time has come when secrets can be shared and explanations begin....

Leonora takes her daughter to the battlefields of WW1, where her father is commemorated on the Thiepval Monument. But the date of his death is surprising and reveals that Captain John Hallows cannot possibly have been Leonora's real father.

This is only the start of a series of revelations that span three generations of a distinguished aristocratic family who are not what they seem. Penelope must piece together a tale of war, of loss, of greed, deception and vice - and the perpetrator of a murder left unsolved for more than half a century....

©1988 Robert Goddard (P)2017 Audible, Ltd

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ainslie
  • 02-02-18

Superb<br />

By far Mr Goddard's best book!
Perfectly structured, full of surprises and very moving. Brilliant.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ainslie
  • 05-11-18

A perfect whodunit brilliantly read

I read this book when it first came out in the late 1980's, and have loved Robert Goddard ever since. The book is a mystery that pans a sixty year time frame as recollection of a murder from people with different perspectives trying to unravel the truth.
Even having read the book, the mystery unfolds in a thoroughly entertaining manner that was never dull and did not prompt my memory to remember the various twists.
Jilly Bond is a very British actress who rarely gives a bad theatrical, television or film performance. She reads this book with energy and a complete mastery of accents for the numerous characters,
A perfect whodunit brilliantly read

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • David
  • 03-20-18

Saved the best for last

I very almost stopped listening to the book half way through although I am very pleased that I didn't. The last quarter of the book was a joy to listen to and the ending is superb however I found the start put my teeth on edge. Most of the setting for the story is explained by recollections, a character recounting their experience to the main character however there is no dialogue, just a their microscopic recollections droning on and on. The narrator wasn't too bad on the whole although some of the voices she used grated on my nerves also which didn't add to my enjoyment. The text seemed so drawn out, at one point I howled "get to the point" aloud and with each new character came another point of view running parallel to the first and again going on and on with very little point or so it seemed. The last part of the book at a different pace altogether and could have been written by a totally different author. It had dialogue, real time back and forth dialogue rather than the reflective, dialogue from earlier in the book. The plot progressed, not the constant question from a character only to be told by another that they were unable to be honest and so the pace quickened and a shape to the story FINALLY became evident. I really wish all of the book had been written in this style because at some points I would look at how much time was left with a sinking heart wondering if there would ever be an improvement to it, because of this I felt no connection or care for any of the characters. As time went on I found that I started invest in one or two. Some of the pot line requires you to suspend your incredulity and it is slightly contrived, even the ending leaves questions and there are irregularities in the plot line.
I don't think I will listen to it again but I did enjoy the ending so would recommend it for that reason if you can put up with the beginning.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • mollyeyre
  • 03-17-18

Good story ruined by awful narration

In Pale Battalions
A reasonable story ruined by awful narration.
This is well written although I found it rather long and drawn out, how much of this impression is due to the absolutely awful 'over egged' narration, and silly voices, I cannot say. The story was very good with twists and the characters were well defined, and either honourable and likeable or total scum and only worthy of hatred.
I do wonder if people would ever allow themselves to be treated so badly as some do in this book, but times were different at the beginning of the last century. I wouldn't give it a second listen, even though I do like to re-read books when I have enjoyed them. I will add Jilly Bond to my list of narrators to avoid.