Written by Ronald McQueen
Review by Sarah Newman

Cossack is part one in a forthcoming trilogy about the plight of the Cossack people, set around WWII. It is a difficult time for the Cossacks, as they are trapped between the Nazis and the Red Army. Many have to decide where their loyalty lies. The reader follows three characters from different backgrounds as they move through Europe, fighting and fleeing the enemy: the sheltered village girl, Katja; Andrei, the old but steely veteran; and the young, headstrong soldier, Mikhail.

I chose this book because I wanted to see WWII from another perspective, but what I didn’t expect was to feel how their experiences affected the Cossacks’ ancient culture. It gave a unique perspective on how traditions had to evolve, and how the displacement of many meant old ways of life died away. It was also fascinating to follow the varied relationships between Cossacks and their enemies. There were some touching moments of camaraderie and loyalty that I didn’t expect, but feel I now understand—they were all in it together. At times it was hard to follow the military manoeuvres, but the more human elements were rich in detail and helped to paint a more vibrant picture. I thought the jacket reflected this and is therefore quite successful in enticing the reader. This book is worth taking time over and I will be interested in future titles from this author.