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  • Published: 3 May 2006
  • ISBN: 9780552771306
  • Imprint: Black Swan
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 448
  • RRP: $22.99

The First Casualty




Ben Elton's first historical thriller

Flanders, June 1917: a British officer and celebrated poet, is shot dead, killed not by German fire, but while recuperating from shell shock well behind the lines. A young English soldier is arrested and, although he protests his innocence, charged with his murder.

Douglas Kingsley is a conscientious objector, previously a detective with the London police, now imprisoned for his beliefs. He is released and sent to France in order to secure a conviction. Forced to conduct his investigations amidst the hell of The Third Battle of Ypres, Kingsley soon discovers that both the evidence and the witnesses he needs are quite literally disappearing into the mud that surrounds him.

Ben Elton's tenth novel is a gut-wrenching historical drama which explores some fundamental questions. What is murder? What is justice in the face of unimaginable daily slaughter? And where is the honour in saving a man from the gallows if he is only to be returned to die in a suicidal battle?

As the gap between legally-sanctioned and illegal murder becomes evermore blurred, Kingsley quickly learns that the first casualty when war comes is truth.

  • Published: 3 May 2006
  • ISBN: 9780552771306
  • Imprint: Black Swan
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 448
  • RRP: $22.99

About the author

Ben Elton

Ben Elton’s multi-award winning career as both performer and writer encompasses some of the most memorable and incisive comedy of the past thirty-five years. In addition to his hugely influential work as a stand-up comic, he was co-writer of TV hits The Young Ones and Blackadder and sole creator of The Thin Blue Line and Upstart Crow. He has written fifteen major bestsellers, including Stark, Popcorn, Inconceivable, DeadFamous, HighSociety, TwoBrothers and Time and Time Again, three West End plays and three musicals, including global phenomenon We Will Rock You. He has written and directed two feature films, Maybe Baby and Three Summers.

He is married and has three children.

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Praise for The First Casualty

A work of formidable imaginative scope ... the writing is so good, the language so surprisingly subtle and the characters so beautifully delineated

Daily Telegraph

Riveting action scenes bristle with a queasy energy ... unputdownable and disgustingly realistic

Sunday Telegraph

Elton writes a good crime story with lots of twists and excitement.

Henry Sutton, The Mirror

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