A London pub, an English village, a shell-hole on the Front, the outskirts of Thai Nguyen city, a ship in heavy weather off Zeebrugge, a civilian internment camp … Unspoken loves and griefs, unexpected freedoms, the tensions between individuality and duty, and every now and then the relief of recognition. You’ll find both heartaches and joys in this astonishing range of thought-provoking stories.
No Man's Land
Drew was born neither boy nor girl, but he was raised as a man, and now he is desperate to enlist to prove himself. His lover, who fought in the Transvaal twelve years before, is just as desperate to dissuade him.
Wendy C. Fries
Time goes tick-tock forward, turning boys into men and men into soldiers, but sometimes a man is left behind. Christopher Timlock meant to join the London Regiment with James Gant, but the British Army had other ideas. So Chrissie made a promise: he would wait for Jamie, for as long as it took. And he would remember.
During the war, people lived their lives in different ways. Even separated by a country, however, a sister and a brother's thoughts circled around similar ideas. One was a worker in a factory, and the other was on the Front Line; both had something important taken from them because of the war, and the thing they'd lost had a way of always entering their minds.
Lena and the Swan
or, The Lesbian Lothario
While the men are away, Lena will play … She delivers the mail, and happily takes advantage of some of the women on her route whose husbands are at war. But then a Miss Cawkwell moves into the house at Fields Corner, and Lena's world begins to shift.
Alfred Schuchard is a baker, the English-born son of a German immigrant, and stuck in a civilian internment camp for the duration of the war. The last thing he needs is for life to get any more complicated. But then a new arrival at camp turns what little still made sense in his world on its head …
Break of Day in the Trenches
Jay Lewis Taylor
Escaping from the German lines hasn't gone to plan. Second Lieutenant David Lewry is sheltering from the barrage in a German dug-out, literally thrown together with Captain David Russell-Hansford-Barnes. Although the two seem to have nothing in common beyond their first name, they share two things: a desire to get back to the British lines, and a desire to live. Then, as they talk through the wait for dawn, the realisation comes on them that they share still more.
Per Ardua Ad Astra
Summer, 1916. The survival of the young aviators of the Royal Flying Corps depends, more often than not, on absolute trust and teamwork. On the eve of the Somme, two such young men watch the storm-clouds gathering, and prepare themselves as best they can for what is to come.
The Man Left Behind
Henrietta's not happy about the men – her brother included – marching off to war, of course not. But perhaps every cloud, however dark, does have a silver lining?
A doctor, a padre, a packet of Black Cat cigarettes and a night in a shell hole; an unexpected confession provides a ray of hope in the darkness.
A Rooted Sorrow
The war has an effect on those at home, too. Mrs Mercer, preoccupied with thoughts of her son, learns about Simon's love for Alfred – a startling contrast to her own unhappy marriage. But what will the implications of this knowledge be, and how might it possibly influence their future lives?
At the Gate
Jay Lewis Taylor
Aboard HMS Arion, ploughing southward in heavy weather to a rendezvous off Zeebrugge, Surgeon Lieutenant-Commander Alan Kershaw has much to contend with: seasickness, anxious messmates, and the depredations of the ship's rat on his medical texts, for a start. Worse than all of these, however, is having to keep his grief secret when anyone else would be allowed to mourn …
After & Before
It is 1918 and the Great War is drawing to a close. Life in Britain has changed. Men are returning home injured, traumatised and severely damaged by what they have seen on the Front Line. Dr Robert Wallace was never one of those men. Disabled by a motorbike accident and unable to fight, he now cares for the men who went out there and did their duty – men like Wilfred Cahill, Robert's lover, who left him four years before to go to war.
They met as boys in the Tonkin region of French Indochina. Years later, as war rages in Europe, the relationship between Bùi Vân Minh and Ngô Công Thao is tested in ways they never imagined. France clings desperately to her colony as a growing surge of independence sweeps through Tonkin, Annam, and Cochinchina. The two men are caught up in wildly different circumstances, but the one constant they have is each other.
"impressive superbly written anthology of thirteen stories of differing lengths illustrating World War I through ‘GLBTQI’ eyes."
Goodreads M/M Romance Members Choice Award Nominee: Best Anthology (2015)
Length: 65,000 words/260 pages