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The Devastation of War

Andrew Tweeddale Author Interview

Of All Faiths & None is a coming-of-age tale focusing on the relationships of the characters and how they fall victim to the tragedy of a needless war. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I marched against the Iraq war and wanted to write a novel that showed the needlessness and brutality of war. The following year I visited Castle Drogo on Dartmoor. There is a room in the castle that is a shrine to the memory of Adrian Drewe, the eldest son of the tea baron who commissioned the castle in 1910. It seemed to me to be the perfect setting to tell a story about war. I wanted to introduce the reader to characters they would grow to like and then have each of these characters deal with the effects that war has on people’s lives. I therefore created a fictional story set around Castle Drogo that led up to the final tragedy of a lost generation.

Your characters are intriguing and well developed. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Thank you. I did not want to create stereotypes but rather rounded characters with flaws. I wanted to take ideals such as faith, duty, conscience and honour and see what would happen to characters when faced with the devastation of war. In many cases the ideals that the characters believed in are questioned or lost by the effects of the war on their lives.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The necessity of war and its consequences on those caught up by it. However, I also wanted to look at what drove people to enlist and how people dealt with tragedy.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

The book I am currently writing looks at the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya and considers whether it is ever right to use torture and oppression to stop an enemy who uses the bloodiest tactics imaginable. It has a working title of ‘The Nuremberg Paradigm’ and should be completed within the next two years

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In the autumn of 1910 the famous architect, Edwin Lutyens, receives a letter from Sir Julius Drewe for the commission of a castle on Dartmoor – Castle Drogo. The design for the castle focusses on both the past and the present and reflects Britain, which at that moment is in a state of flux. Lutyens’ daughter, Celia, becomes enamoured with the project dreaming of chivalry and heroism. The following year Lutyens and his family are invited to a stone laying ceremony at Castle Drogo. Celia meets Sir Julius’ children: Adrian, Christian and Basil. Adrian has an unbending sense of duty and honour and is seen as a hero by Celia when he rescues a farmer from a fire.

The novel moves to 1914, and the start of the Great War. Christian Drewe returns from Austria where he has been working as an artist. He has reservations about joining up, unconvinced that the war was either necessary or right. He meets a nurse, Rose Braithwaite, when he is stuck at a railway station by fog. They subsequently meet again when Rose invites Christian to a party she is having for her birthday. Despite them being of different classes, there is a mutual attraction and during the evening they kiss. However, Rose is engaged and a fight breaks out between Rose’s fiancé, who arrives much later, and Christian. Both Rose and Christian decide never to see each other again. Christian’s moral conflict about enlisting comes to a head when he is handed a white feather – the sign of a coward. Eighteen months later, during the war, Christian is injured and is treated by Rose at a hospital on the front line. Both realise their mistake of following their heads rather than their hearts. Christian is sent back to a rehabilitation hospital in England where Celia is now working.

Adrian, when on leave, visits Christian and again meets Celia. The relationship is now one of equals. Celia, a headstrong young woman, decides that she must try and develop the relationship or risk losing Adrian. Adrian is torn between his desire for Celia and his need to protect his family, who are now having financial problems. The story moves from the battlefields of Flanders to Castle Drogo, where the characters are reunited for brief periods. Faith and love are stretched to their limits as each character is affected by the relentless brutality of the war. Of All Faiths & None is the story of a lost generation. It is a novel that focuses on the relationships of the characters until those relationships are shattered. It is a coming-of-age tale and a social commentary on the tragedy of a needless war.

Of All Faiths & None 

Of All Faiths & None by Andrew Tweeddale is a historical fiction novel set during the Great War between 1910 and 1918. This compelling novel begins with Julius Drewe, who hires a famous architect, Edwin Luytens, to design a castle. Drewe’s goal is to establish and preserve his legacy with the construction of Castle Drogo, which later symbolizes the nature of the war, and how the younger generation of the Drewes and Luytens become entangled in the war, which breaks out in 1914. The plot quickly develops when the setting shifts from the families’ residence in London to the various battlefields and their connections to each other and Castle Drogo.

The author explores many essential topics during the early 1900s, including the age of enlightenment, the suffragette movement, and the impact of war. It’s an emotional rendition of the history of western society and how significant changes in the world challenge different religions and belief systems. Tweeddale does a great job developing each character and evolving them throughout the book in well-structured chapters and well-written descriptions of their individual experiences.

Throughout the book, Tweeddale explores the themes of duty, vanity, romance, and spirituality and how they evolve during the war. Readers get a glimpse into the political system of this era, and the consequences of war on all levels of society, from the ordinary people to the elites. The author brilliantly showcases the horrors of war and how it capitalizes on the arrogance and vanity of humans while humanizing war casualties so that they are not merely seen as numbers or statistics but as soldiers who are also brothers, sons, and spouses.

I profoundly enjoyed Of All Faiths & None by Andrew Tweeddale. I recommend this impassioned historical romance novel for the author’s ability to highlight the tragedies of war and how it is the ultimate equalizer, impacting everyone regardless of faith or lack of it. It is a well-told tale of love, faith, and war, and is perfect for fans of historical fiction. 

Pages: 352 | ASIN: 1739612205

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