Chris Ransom wakes up in a cell in 1917. He is put on trial and found guilty of cowardice, impersonating a fellow soldier and theft. As the trial comes to a close, Chris remembers two things: that the name the accusers has been calling him is not his, and that he took something from a dead man in the trenches. Now, he has to remember, completely, the events leading up to this moment to convince the officers and save himself.
One Good Turn is not a book, but rather a novella, even a novelette. It’s quick to read, if you have a spare hour, or you could finish it during the day if you just had a few ten-minute instalments. Perhaps read it over your lunch break. Or maybe not, given the topic.
This novelette is brutally realistic and provides insight into the truly harsh fighting of WWI. Not only does it feature the human impact, but also the animal impact, and shows another side to the story which you may not have heard of or read much about before: what happens when your own troops turn against you.
Chris is the good-guy, John Stubbs the bad guy. We know that from the off, and Ryan reflects this well in his work. The stories run parallel to each other smoothly and you really feel like you’re living alongside them, through the whole torturous event.
I did like this novelette, but the ending, for me, whilst perhaps most realistic, was dissatisfying, and I didn’t particularly like it. However, if you’re interested in WWI, particularly as we are now living in the 100 year anniversary, it’s a nice little read for you. Just don’t expect to be left with a pleasant buzz of hope in your veins afterwards.