A Cretan village confronts the Nazi juggernaut as it sweeps across Europe, and four lives are changed forever...
A Cretan village confronts the Nazi juggernaut sweeping across Europe.
A village matriarch tries to hold her family together...Her grieving son finds a new life in the Cretan Resistance…A naive English soldier unwillingly finds the warrior in himself…And a fanatical German paratrooper is forced to question everything he thought he believed in.
The lives of four ordinary people are irrevocably entwined and their destinies changed forever as each of them confronts the horrors of war and its echoes down the decades.
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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. A Cretan village confronts the Nazi juggernaut sweeping across Europe. A village matriach tries to hold her family together. Her grieving son finds a new life in the Cretan Resistance. A naïve English soldier unwillingly finds the warrior in himself. And a fanatical German paratrooper is forced to question everything he thought he believed in. The lives of 4 ordinary people are irrevocably entwined and their destinies changed forever as each of them confronts the horrors of war-echoing down decades. The Manoulakis family consists of matriach Anastasia, her husband Antoni, son and widower Yianni and his daughter Elpida,all living in the village of Ayios Stefanos located in the Crete island in Greece. However, their lives are disrupted by the German occupation of Greece. Yianni joins the resistance leaving Anastasia and Elpida having to deal with occupying Germans. The Germans were ousting villagers from their homes and setting up soldier billets. Meanwhile, Liverpudlian Paul Cuthbertson, longs to escape his poor reality. He gets conscripted into the Royal Artillery and navigates the war reluctantly. Then there's Dieter Lehmann in Germany. He is from a wealthy banking family and believes in Hitler and the Fatherland. He then enlists in the elite paratroopers but finds his resolve weakening later on as he realises the truth about the Nazis. The Battle of Crete began on May 20th 1941, when Nazi Germany began an airborne invasion, and first deployed their Fallschirmjager. In the first day, the Germans suffered heavy casualties but in the end the Allies lost due to communication failures and German offensive operations. The Allied forces then withdrew and were evacuated by the Royal Navy. This battle was also the first time the Allies made significant use of the Enigma machine, and the first time that German troops encountered mass resistance from civilians. Due to the casualties and the belief that airborne forces didn't have the surprise advantage, Hitler stopped using them, thus reducing paratroopers to ground forces.In contrast, the Allies were impressed by the potential of paratroopers and started employing them in airborne assaults and airfield defence. ~ Shreedevi Gurumurty (Reviewer), NetGalley
I really enjoyed this book as I find stories about the second world war and the resistance so interesting. This one is set on the island of Crete and gives a good background history of events before the war. The story is presented from three different perspectives so adding to the story. This aspect enhances and adds depths to the book. You cannot help but admire those unfortunate people who had to live through the most awful experiences, their bravery is undeniable. The author gets you to care about the characters so it hooks you in. I really enjoyed the depth of characterisation, the vivid descriptions and the most human element of this book. Thanks to Netgalley for a chance to read and review it. ~ Rosemary Groves, NetGalley
Overall this was really great historical fiction writing. I have considered myself a student and scholar of World War II history for most of my adult life, and this is a perspective and scope of the war that isn’t that well known to the general reader of history. The Cretan population offered up a fierce resistance to German occupation, and as a result they suffered gravely for it. This book tells the story of Crete and it’s people, but it does way more than that. It speaks about human connection and horrific reality of warfare. It also provides multiple perspectives of the event from different sides of the engagement:German, Cretan, and British. From what I could tell, the majority of the main characters were fabricated by the author to tell the story in a fictional way. However, all of the main plot lines of the story are inspired by the real events and people who lived through them (or perished) throughout the Cretan episode of the war. It was well researched and the story flowed relatively well. ~ Gregory Pedersen, NetGalley
Fans of WWII historical fiction will enjoy this novel. Well written and descriptive without becoming dull. Mr. Duke has a definite "Books to Read of 2019" list member with 'The Village'. 4 out of 5 stars. Highly recommended. ~ Lizbeth DeValkenaere, NetGalley
Yet again I would like to thank NetGalley for providing me with a Kindle version of this book to read and honestly review. The battle of Crete began in the 20th of May 1941 and I have to admit is something I knew very little about, and whilst a work of fiction, the Author has obviously thoroughly researched. The result is an highly entertaining and very well written book. Told from numerous perspectives, by a totally believable group of characters, who draw you into their lives completely. At times brutal and violent at others loving moving and poignant a story of courage and hardship and heartily recommended. ~ John McCormick , NetGalley
A really good well written book about the island of Crete during World War 2. This is a part of World War 2 that I knew very little about. This is an insightful and intriguing read. ~ Julie Hosford, NetGalley
I found the story very well written and was drawn into caring for all of the characters. It was enlightening to learn the background, it helped to understand their thoughts and feelings towards the war and how it affected them. Once again, it shows how the Germans were despicable and the horrors and atrocities of war that affected so many lives of innocent civilians I would recommend this book to any historical fiction reader ~ Theresa Young , NetGalley
I was extremely intrigued when i read the premise of this book. Firstly, set in wartime Crete. Now, i have to say that i've never really thought about Crete in a wartime perspective. I'm quite ashamed of this if i'm honest after reading such a brilliant poignant read. A story of varied different people in a horrible, terrible situation. A story of resilient, innocent people suffering. It's a great read. A good paced novel that unfolds in a variety of twists that will keep you, the reader, completely enthralled and fully immersed in this beautifully written tale. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and will be recommending this to others. It's a story that will stay with me for a while yet. Thank you to the author, the publisher and Netgalley for my ARC. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own. ~ Sarah Bird, NetGalley
The author presents a simply told story involving three soldiers in the wartime Battle of Crete, a working class English Tommy, a fiercely Nazi German paratrooper and a Cretan partisan. Allied incompetence, individual courage, the suffering of innocents, the qualms of conscience all figure in the tale. The style is clear and without artifice, but the story is quite powerful and takes a number of unexpected turns, culminating in a present day act of revenge, as pointless as the deaths and violence of the war years ~ Keith Currie, GoodReads
What a thoughtful, engaging story! It was very insightful and well written. I will keep this author in mind for the future! ~ Malia Zaidi, NetGalley
The story of the invasion of Crete during WW2 from the perspective of the islanders and soldiers from both sides depicts the suffering and brutality of the war. The book was based on real events which took place on the island which today is such a popular holiday destination. A very human and tragic tale and a must read for those interested in the events of the period. ~ Dee Garcia, NetGalley
This book is about the island of Crete during World War 2. Characters are well developed and I enjoyed plot. It's a fast paced book. ~ Anthony Philo , NetGalley
The Village is a story of WWII. The setting is Crete. I haven't read anything about Crete before. It's a story of brave people in a terrible situation. They are survivors. It's a good read that unfolds at a good pace. You will want to keep reading until the end. ~ Jamie Bass, NetGalley
This novel was an emotionally riveting tale about a long forgotten aspect of World War Two. My favourite quotes from the books were: "Whoever fights a monster should see to it that he does not become one." And "There is surely a clear line between what is good and what is evil, but either we are too willfully stupid to see it or, because of self-delusion or moral weakness, we allow that line to be smudged beyond recognition. Only after we have crossed that line and looked back can we realise its existence, and know that we have transgressed it with no hope of ever redeeming ourselves." Overall, this was a sad, but wonderfully written novel that sheds light on the forgotten Battle of Crete in the Second World War. Thank you NetGalley for providing me an advanced reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. ~ Shreedevi Gurumurty, NetGalley
I enjoy reading about WW2 and this came from a different area of the world than the usual. I really felt for the characters, which led to me being in tears in places! It is hard to comprehend how people can be so cruel to each other. I admired the Cretans strength and wondered if i would have been so brave in such a dangerous situation. This was a page turner.I would highly recommend this book to enable people to see how the island of Crete suffered during WW2. ~ Emily Sheppard , NetGalley
Having spent some major time in Crete, I was so happy to get this book to review as I did so many tours of WWII graveyards and other sites. The book was expertly researched and written and I was sucked in from page one to the last as I knew that I had to see what happened to these people and their lives in a place that I live in for a rather long while. It's a quick read at only 264 pages long: it was one of those books where you wanted more, more more!!! If you are a fan of wartime novels or novels full of history, this is a great book for you: I can see my historical book club devouring this after I put it on their May 2019 TBR&R (To Be Read and Reviewed) list. I know that they will love it as much as I did and YOU WILL AS WELL!! ~ Janet Pole, NetGalley
An excellent and we'll written book about WWII. This takes place on the island of Crete. I have read extensively about Europe in WWII, but this is the first novel set in Crete. The characters are well developed and you find yourself quickly turning the pages to find out what occurs next. ~ marilyn rhea , NetGalley
Historical fiction is one of my all time favourite genres and was so pleased to have received an advanced copy of 'The Village' via Netgalley and the Publishers. I was engrossed in this story from start to finish. Well written. I have never been to Crete, but do hope to do so in the near future. I shall remember this story when i do! A story that i do recommend, especially if you enjoy wartime novels. ~ Jeanette Styles, NetGalley
Duke's story is an amazing tale of WWII Crete. The story spanned nearly fifty years as it told the story that connected Yianni and Dieter in ways they never wanted. Life in the little village was filled with love, song, and life until the war brought death, suffering, and loss. Duke's story grips you on page one and doesn't let up until the closing act. Perfect for anyone interested in social history and life during WWII. ~ Teresa Grabs, NetGalley
The contention of all anti war books is that use of military force is the most horrible way to solve any problem and "The Village" is no exception. It is a fast read and interesting enough to pull the reader into wanting to finish it without pause. The description of the actual places where the action took place is a nice extra which allows the reader to examine a topographical map of Crete and quickly grasp what problems were faced by each of the participants during the invasion. Good use of fiction to present a factual event to readers not aware of what happened there during a tumultuous period in history. ~ Paul Lane, NetGalley
War stories are always poignant with the people of those times struggling through something they could never prepare for. This one was one such. I found it well paced and interesting. ~ Priya Prakash , NetGalley
The Village is a character-driven novel and a thoroughly good read from beginning to end. Philip Duke’s four main characters are distinct, well drawn, believable, and sympathetic. Duke delays many details describing Anastasia, Yianni, Paul, and Dieter until they’re pertinent to the plot, making me feel as if I am coming to know them as they come to know themselves. What happens to Yianni and Anastasia because of the war fought in Crete provides a wonderful contrast to what happens to Paul and Dieter when they mature into soldiers sent to the island. Before they finally appear together in the central village of the book’s title, Duke has hauntingly reminded us of the essential, personal tragedies wrought by war. ~ Shaila Van Sickle, Emeritus Professor and author of Seven Characters in Search of an Author
As a writer of non-fiction, I am deeply envious of those with the imagination and talent to produce first-class fiction, and The Village certainly falls into that category. Not only does it deal with an aspect of the last war with which I was entirely unfamiliar, but its characters and story are so compelling that I read it almost at one sitting. The author's familiarity with the locations and the facts behind the story give the book that vital extra ingredient which raises it to the level of a truly great read. ~ Paul Bahn, archaeologist and author of The Archaeology of Hollywood
The scars of the Second World War are not deeply hidden or fully healed on the island of Crete. Philip Duke, in his terrific evocation of the battle for Crete and its aftermath, does a masterful job of showing why. The Village of the title stands for many villages, where the German invasion was met with little more than aged hunting rifles and kitchen knives. Cretans, invaded serially over the centuries and most recently by the Ottoman empire, fought back bravely against the Germans and were met with terrible reprisals. We see this story told through the eyes of a British soldier stranded in Crete, a German member of the Hitler Youth, whose ideals become tested by the realities of brutality, and the ordinary folk in a Cretan village living through extraordinary times. Duke evokes the gaunt splendour of Crete and the raw courage of those who defended its liberty and were never completely subdued. It is a moving story, well told, and we see it from multiple perspectives, reminding us that in the end there are no winners in war time. This is a great example of how to learn history, through a well-told tale resting on excellent research. ~ Murray Morison,author of Time Sphere and Time Knot