Yorkshire Post - YP Magazine

Where God Does Not Walk by Luke McCallin

- NO EXIT PRESS, £18.99 REVIEW BY ALLAN MASSIE

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.

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