The Brother Keepers

The Brother Keepers

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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.... a mower blade while the brass hats sat behind the lines planning more hopeless offensives with their diagrammatic circles and arrows marked in red on battlefield maps. ... While on trench repair duty the next day, Sable felt something move on his stomach under his belt. ... It looked like a tiny translucent lobster with a bunch of tiny feet and alongside it he could make out tiny white particles like rice.

Title:The Brother Keepers
Author:John MacNintch
Publisher:Aquadoc Publications - 2007


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