Tom McLean is originally from Rotorua but now lives in the UK, where he is completing a DPhil in English literature. Tom Remiger is the name under which he writes fiction; his non-fiction and academic writing have been published in a number of journals and magazines.
'This surely is among those best books about war by a writer who did not take part in one. Soldiers' account of a small group of men from the remotest edge of Empire who served in the New Zealand Division's failed invasion of the Greek mainland, and then Crete, early in the Second World War, strikes me at once as a stunningly impressive and important novel. The writing is direct and vivid, it is superbly researched, and the story deeply understands the men it depicts. It is remarkable, in a narrative so accurately representing ordinary men during the worst part of their experience, that it also so sympathetically portrays the usually hushed-up realities of homosexuality, cowardice, and paranoia. I love the book's confidence and humanity, and the scale of what it takes on.' * Vincent O'Sullivan *