Who Desires Peace: The Great War Won Trilogy

Written by James Emerson Loyd
Review by Steve Donoghue

The final years of the First World War form the backdrop for James Emerson Loyd’s epic trilogy The Great War Won. The trilogy ranges from the corridors of power in London to the front lines of the Allied forces in the field, especially all the ranks of the German armed forces. The saga takes in a sprawling cast of characters, many from the pages of history, and some wholly invented by the author (the foremost of these, a princess named Claire described by no less than Theodore Roosevelt as a force of nature, is a spectacular fictional creation).

The first volume of the trilogy, Who Desires Peace…, focuses on the efforts of a small group of conspirators bent on bringing about a peace at any cost. The second (…Should Prepare for War) and third volume (A Power of Recognized Superiority) concentrate more on battlefields than espionage, and in all cases Loyd’s strong, supple prose never falters, his ear for dialogue never dulls, and his knack for capturing historical characters with well-chosen small details never deserts him.

Woven into the trilogy’s powerful but more or less conventional set pieces of historical fiction are subtle but fascinating tweakings of alternative history that often involve real historical characters like Michael Collins and Rosa Luxemburg in activities that would have astounded them. The result is a genuinely impressive accomplishment, enthusiastically recommended.

(complete trilogy reviewed as one review)