Scorpion Sunset

Written by Catrin Collier
Review by Ann Northfield

This is the third in the series following on from Long Road to Baghdad and Winds of Eden. It is set during the First World War, but with a more unusual location in Mesopotamia. The novel follows different threads and characters, moving in focus and setting, but generally continuing the storylines from the earlier novels. Maud has had her illegitimate child, but it is clear to all that the baby cannot have been fathered by her husband, and thus she is not particularly welcome in polite society. She is thrown out of her father’s bungalow and forced to fend for herself. The plight of women, generally, is a sub-theme in the novel. Various other soldiers and doctors struggle for survival on forced marches or in prisoner of war camps and against diseases such as typhoid and dysentery. There is also the danger of combat, snipers and all the other nastiness of war. An awful and at points difficult to read, but historically accurate, element to this book depicts the systematic massacre of Armenian Christians by the Turks. The ends are all neatly tied up at the end, perhaps too simply at times, but the story is entertaining and the pages turn easily. Reading the early novels would certainly be helpful but is not essential. Overall this is an easy read, which deals with some dark historical events and creates some memorable characters.