A story of Gallipoli.
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My grandfather died at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli on August 21st 1915. He led his men across a dried salt lake towards a well-armed, well led enemy who held all the upper ground, including Scimitar Hill where my grandfather was killed. His body was never found and my grandmother who had six young children, continued to believe that he would emerge from a Turkish hospital or prison camp. Most probably he was burned, dead or alive, in the fires all around.
I was born during the Second World War and grew up in its aftermath and later lived in New York during the Vietnam War. War was always an important part of my consciousness. But this family loss in the First World War is the inspiration for my novel , ‘Glory’. I have archive letters and diaries to bring the events alive. But when I travelled to Gallipoli and walked the jagged cliffs and gullies for myself, I soon realised that my grandfather’s experience was a very small part of that tragic and pointless campaign. (See full description)
‘Glory is as near to a British War and Peace as any contemporary novelist is likely to come.’ Bevis Hillier The Spectator Books of the Year
‘Billington’s grandfather was killed at Suvla Bay in 1915,and this piece of family tragedy invests her epic and gripping novel with added poignancy.’ Daily Mail
‘Billington vividly creates the doomed [Gallipoli] campaign with its incompetent generals, bullish politicians and sacrificial soldiers … a clever, insightful and always readable book.’ The Times
‘Many lives were changed irrevocably by the 1915 Battle of Gallipoli. Inspired by her grandfather’s experiences, Billington focuses on the battle’s impact on a young woman and two soldiers in this heart-wrenching novel of loss, love and survival.’ Woman and Home
‘Meticulously researched, and written with elegance and sensitivity, the novel describes ‘the suicidal mission’ in which so many fought and died in vain.’ Good Book Guide (See full Reviews & Press)