Before reading this novel, I had never given a thought as to what went into the establishment of the World War I Allied military cemeteries in Belgium and France in the immediate post-World War I era.
"THE GLORIOUS DEAD" is centered around a small group of British (and Empire) soldiers who are tasked from 1918 (several weeks after the Armistice) to 1921 with uncovering bodies of dead comrades in Flanders Fields and helping to set up the first British (and Empire) military cemeteries. The reader is given a real sense of what each character is like, their motivations, feelings, as well as how the civilians in the war-torn areas are struggling to re-establish their lives and livelihoods. There is love, despair, hope, as well as something surprising about one of the main characters that I'll leave to the reader of this review to discover for him/herself.
I'm glad I finished reading this novel today on the 100th anniversary of the Armistice. As a grandson of a World War I U.S. Army veteran and mindful of what the World War I generation gave between 1914 and 1918 in terms of toil and sacrifice, I am thankful to Tim Atkinson for having written such a thought-provoking, well-written novel on an aspect of the war that is little recognized or appreciated by most people living today.