by John Wilson
The reality of trench warfare comes as a shock to Allan McBride. Like many other young soldiers, he enthusiastically signed up for the chance to join the war effort and be a part of the fighting. But after months in the ravaged battlefields, watching men, including his friend Ken, get blown up by German shelling, something in Allan snaps and he leaves his unit, believing he is “walking home to Canada” to get help for a friend.
After wandering aimlessly for a week, Allan is taken in by a band of real deserters — men who have abandoned their units and live on the edge of survival in the woods of northern France. Once Allan realizes what he’s done, he’s paralyzed by the reality of his circumstance: if he stays and is found, he’ll face unknown consequences; and if he returns to his unit, he will be charged with desertion — a charge punishable by death