Whilst novels set on the Western Front are not uncommon, those with a background of the Salonika campaign are even rarer than home leave was for members of the BSF, so it has been a pleasure to see the publication – during this centenary year – of The Birdcage by Clive Aslet.
Published by Sandstone Press on 16 June 2016, you can find out more about the author and the book at the publisher’s website.
Salonika in 1916 is a city more than half-Jewish and, until a few months ago, one of the jewels in the Ottoman crown. It is now suddenly Greek. Nominally neutral, it is filled with French, British and Serbian soldiers defending it against the Austro-German and Bulgarian forces to the north. In a city seething with intrigue, cafe society continues unperturbed and the native inhabitants make from the soldiers what money they can. Young nurses from the Women’s Hospital join seasoned soldiers, and Kite Balloonists must trade their traditional chivalry towards the enemy against the need to survive.
I know of several other novels with a Salonika setting, but if you know of more, please let me know.
The Long Shadow
By SCS member Loretta Proctor and published in 2013 by Troubador (ISBN 9781783060542).
Fourteen-year-old Andrew discovers his mother’s hidden diary at his grandmother’s house during a Christmas holiday. His eyes are opened to a family secret when he reads about her time as a nurse on Salonika during the First World War …
By Victoria Hislop and published in 2011 by Headline Books (ISBN-10: 0755377737 and ISBN-13: 978-0755377732). It takes, as its starting point, Salonika’s Great Fire of 1917.
Thessaloniki, 1917. As Dimitri Komninos is born, a fire sweeps through the thriving multicultural city, where Christians, Jews and Moslems live side by side. It is the first of many catastrophic events that will change for ever this city …