Winds of Eden

Written by Catrin Collier
Review by Ann Northfield

The novel takes place during WW1, but in a fresh twist the place is Iraq, which serves as a timely reminder that this war was not fought only in France. It follows the fortunes of (among others) Charles Reid, Tom Mason and Michael Downe, all fighting or carrying out important war roles for various reasons. The novel shows clearly the sights and casualties of war including issues with colonialism, obtaining supplies, intelligence, getting medical assistance and so on.

The issues are various and there are a lot of them: events, characters, back history, and motivations from the past. This is primarily because, although not labelled as such on the front cover, this book is part of a series, the first novel being The Long Road to Baghdad, so the reader really has to play catch-up for most of the novel.

There are so many unanswered questions and issues arising, presumably from the earlier The Long Road to Baghdad. Why was Maud unfaithful? How did Harry Downe become such an expert on the natives? How did he meet his Arab wife? This novel ultimately does not work as a stand-alone story, and so the previous novel is essential reading. Having said that, the characters and situations are interesting and well-depicted and the plot draws the reader in. Enjoyable and thought-provoking, but start with the first one. The series continues in 2015 with Scorpion Sunset.