NEW BOOK: Release date 1st September 2016
A new teenage novel, entitled "1916: Dig for Victory", is a novel set around the historical deeds of the New Zealand Pioneer Battalion in 1916, at Armentières and the Somme. It is part of a five book series, with five different New Zealand writers, about New Zealand's participation in the Great War 1914-1918.
1916: Dig for Victory follows two young soldiers in the Pioneer Battalion, one Maori and the other Pakeha, as they dig trenches and learn about life in 1916 war-torn France. Thrown together with nothing in common but a homeland, they bond while dealing with bullies, foreign lands and customs, being away from home, and dodging shells and bullets in Armentières and the Somme offensive.
Traumatised veterans and wide-eyed new recruits have come from all corners of New Zealand, a country so young it barely conceives of itself as a nation, to fight for Mother England, a place most have never even seen. They’ve arrived in a war like no other: the Great War, a maelstrom of fire, poison gas, artillery, and newly created weapons such as aircraft and tanks. The men of the NZ Pioneer Battalion are armed only with their picks and shovels, but are determined to dig their way into history, yard by yard.
Eighteen-year-old Leith McArran knows who he is: a Scot from Dunedin, the son of a soldier. Orphaned sixteen-year-old Tamati Baines, on the other hand, knows only that soldiers get fed and paid, and that’s enough for him to lie about his age and join up. They form a unlikely friendship based on shared humour, hardship, and shared dangers.
But on the war-wracked fields of the Somme, they’re going to have to learn fast or die. Especially when Tamati discovers an inner landscape of signs and portents that could be the difference between survival and annihilation for the entire battalion.