The Brother Keepers

The Brother Keepers

Author: John MacNintch

Publisher: Aquadoc Publications

ISBN: STANFORD:36105123360021

Category: Canada

Page: 810

View: 777

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This work of historical fiction, based on the World War I experiences of three brothers, has its roots in pre-war Nova Scotia and sweeps the reader into the vortex of the horrendous battles of human attrition in Belgium and France. The story culminates in fratricide and its lingering aftermath.What begins as a glorious crusade against the invading Huns devolves into a colossal struggle, not only for survival, but also for the souls of these three volunteers in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Brought up in the parsonage of a Baptist minister fondly referred to as ?The Old Gent,? sons Sable, Ian, and Fraser are taught to be ?brother keepers.' They bond fiercely through a multitude of reckless endeavors and escapades of tomfoolery and danger on both water and land. Shipped to the Western Front, Sable and his brothers experience bombardments, trench raids, entombment, mine explosions, sniping, bayonet fighting, firefights, loss of comrades, barroom brawls, bloody disasters, mud and mayhem while in the ranks of the 31st and 25th Battalions. Sable undergoes intensive sniper training and takes his toll on the enemy. Ian becomes a stretcher-bearer and loses his faith in a compassionate God. The paths of the brothers diverge and cross. By 1918 the Canadians have become an elite corps of shock troops; together with the Australian Corps, they spearhead the first major breakthrough of the war at Amiens. It is here that the orders of a drunken officer destroy the brother keepers.This saga of military tragedy and heroism engages the moral and religious issues of war and postulates ?The Iron Corollary to the Golden Rule.' ?The Brother Keepers? is a story of faith lost and faith maintained, doublethink, elusive love, the sanctity of brotherhood and the toll of warfare interspersed with interludes of humor. Out of this searing odyssey on European soil emerged worldwide recognition of the Canadian Corps and Canada as a nation unto itself.