Flanders is the breakout novel by Patricia Anthony, whose award-winning science fiction has transcended the genre through the sheer power of her storytelling. Anthony’s first true mainstream novel, it is a powerful evocation of the First World War—and the passage between life and death that reveals itself to one young soldier.
World War I, Flanders, Northern France
The British trenches grow wet and foul. For Travis Lee Stanhope, a Texan sharpshooter serving in an English unit, the war is not hell, but home. Each night he ventures into No Man’s Land between his comrades and the German trenches, and waits. At dawn, he begins his methodical sniping of enemy troops. Then he returns. His confirmed kill list is exemplary.
But Travis Lee is changing. His senses are ravaged by the unending scream of shells overhead. His mind is numbed by too many rations of rum. His soul is bled dry by the constant death all around him.
And yet, in his dreams, something still lives. He sees a world like the war, yet unlike, where the living are the same as the walking dead. The people there are his comrades killed in action. Sometimes they are stranded with him on the battlefield. Sometimes they lie in glass-covered graves in an Eden-like cemetery. He tries to ease their pain. But no one can ease his pain. And it will take more than death, and more than dreams, to make Travis Lee realize that he may have a function in this war beyond killing his enemies.