A Distant Field: A Novel of World War I

Written by RJ MacDonald
Review by Jeff Westerhoff

There are many reasons why men joined the British Army in 1915 to fight the Germans. This story involves six men: two American brothers, Stuart and Ross McReynolds, along with the four O’Connell cousins from Ireland. Stuart and Ross see their parents drown aboard the Lusitania, sunk by a German U-Boat, and the O’Connell boys rescue the two brothers while on a fishing trip off the coast of Ireland. They lost a brother during the early stages of the Battle of Gallipoli.

They become friends and join the praised Seaforth Highlanders, a Scottish regiment. Originally bound for the battlefields of France, they were redirected to Gallipoli where intense trench warfare and occasional hand-to-hand fighting, and sniper fire existed.

The Battle of Gallipoli is dramatically described; the battle sequences are both horrifying and exciting. The chaos is pronounced as the British troops move from one fox hole to another as they move toward the Turkish Army. The major characters are fully fleshed out, sympathetic and the products of their time. This is a well-written novel, and if you are a collector of books on the First World War, I suggest you add this novel to your collection.