Yorkshire Post - YP Magazine
Where God Does Not Walk by Luke McCallin
In the three previous books of this fine thriller series, Luke McCallin has recorded his hero Gregor Rheinhardt’s experiences in the Second World War, the first of these novels beginning in Sarajevo in
1943. Now he retraces his steps, harking back to Rheinhardt’s service as a young Lieutenant in the German army in 1918, shortly before Ludendorff ’s last attempt at a breakthrough, which was followed by the great Allied victory in the Battle of Amiens.
Rheinhardt and his regiment have recently been transferred from the Eastern Front where the Russian Revolutions paved the way for Germany’s crushing victory. Now on the Western Front, Rheinhardt finds that he and his fellow Easterners are regarded with suspicion and dislike by the veterans of trench warfare.
The novel begins with an explosion destroying an army headquarters. One of Rheinhardt’s men – a pioneer or sapper – is the chief suspect, partly because he is a
socialist or communist. Rheinhardt is not convinced. This incident sets the novel galloping forward.
There is a huge cast of characters and the plot is involved, not easy always to follow. Nevertheless it is compelling, as is McCallin’s depiction of an army – indeed a society – on the brink of disintegration and collapse.
Its essential element can be summarised briefly. Recognising by the late summer of 1918 that
Germany’s defeat was unavoidable, leading members of the army staff and right-wing politicians were determined that the responsibility for the catastrophe should be pinned on “unpatriotic elements” – socialists, communists, trade unionists, intellectuals, academics and, of course, Jews. As is well known, this black propaganda was successful and would be exploited by Hitler and the Nazis very quickly.