This review is from Manda Scott, of the Historical Writers’ Association (www.TheHWA.co.uk) a.k.a M.C.Scott (Rome: The Art of War):
“I became a fan of Rob Ryan’s work at Harrogate History Fest in October, when I heard him speak on a panel about Sherlock Holmes….. Apparently there was a single line in one of the last Holmes books which said that Watson had gone back to his ‘old unit’ – that being the RAMC, and given that we were on the brink of WWI, that means he went back to war.
Thus arises one of the best post-Conan Doyle Sherlockian series, and a fantastic historical crime series. The Major John Watson we come to know in the trenches in DEAD MAN’S LAND and again here in the UK in The Dead Can Wait is a humane, compassionate, competent individual, who nevertheless appreciates the help of his steadily deteriorating friend, Holmes. The horrors of war are not stinted, but nor are they gratuitous. In DML, we (well, I) learned a huge amount about nurses and the various auxilliaries and how they worked, while in TDCW, we (I) learn a lot we (I) didn’t know about ‘shell shock’ and then, later, about the early development of tanks. It’s fascinating, and yet none of it is presented as ‘here is the research I did, now suck it up and learn it’ which is so often the case in historical novels of this sort. It’s all integral to the plot, and carries the dynamic tension even as we’re given a virtual tour of the tank testing grounds. There’s a truly scary German woman-spy, part of a network called the She Wolves, of whom I’m sure (I hope) we’ll learn more, and the very welcome return of Mrs Gregson, the red-headed, motor-bike riding, thoroughly competent nursing auxilliary.
In a year when there are going to be 1,000 ( at least) books about WWI published, this will be one of the first, and I am prepared to bet, one of the best. It’s a cracking, fulfilling, utterly satisfying read and you should get a copy now…”
Out January 2 in hardback and ebook.