An RAF bomb-aimer in the Second World War, shot down over the Bay of Biscay, Brian Hales has already had to overcome a crisis of conscience when his lover Ronnie ended their relationship and went to prison as a pacifist. The risks of attempted escape are his next hurdle, bringing him into conflict with his superior officers in the prisoner-of-war camp where he is eventually taken. But his most disturbing experience is still to come, when he finds himself falling in love with a young German guard.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
Brian Hales is in his early twenties, studying to be a barrister (lawyer) when he is called-up to serve his country in the war against Germany. He joins the RAF and becomes a navigator and bomb-aimer in a Halifax. Leaving behind a failed relationship with the outspoken Ronnie, a declared pacifist, he is at the time enjoying his present love, the flamboyant and openly queer fighter pilot Ayers, alias 'Gracie'. For Brian and other wise successful bombing raid over Biscay turns to disaster when they end up in the water, and it is not long before a patrol boat picks up the survivors and he finds himself a POW, travelling by rail across France in a herded with fellow prisoners in a cattle truck to what will become his home for the remainder of the war. His escapades include an escape attempt, contact with the French resistance and a steamy encounter with the young Sylvain. But his life and his troubles really take off when he arrives at the prisoner of war camp. Carrying the distinction and kudos of having made an escape attempt he enjoys a certain celebrity, but that will in turn bring him into conflict with the camp escape committee. On his solitary camp wanders he enters the out of bounds Russian compound and soon becomes a staunch friend of the older and much wiser Russian doctor Oblemov. But his greatest pleasure and biggest problem comes in the form of a young blond German soldier, camp guard Eugin, at twenty three the same age as Brian. A friendship based in their shared love of Schubert becomes a fully fledged and intimate love affair, but one will will eventually lead to disaster. Full Circle follows Brain from his just before his call-up, through his final bombing raid, capture, escape, and final imprisonment. Along the way there are occasional flashbacks of Brian's upbringing providing a greater insight into his character. It is not until two thirds of the way into the book that we find him in the POW camp, and that episode is a story in itself. The very likable Brian comes across as a strong personality, he knows his own mind, he has a streak of morality, one which is very much strengthened through his experiences, and as a budding barrister he has a quick mind and a powerful way with words. His love affair with the intense and delightful Eugin is beautifully portrayed, from their first encounter through their innocent friendship and to the declaration and consummation of their love. Mike Seabrook is an accomplished writer, and this must rate as one of his best efforts; beautiful prose, he is never in a hurry to make his point enjoying the language as a means of expression. It may initially seem a little slow, but it soon becomes thoroughly engrossing and builds to a wonderful fulfillment. The story concludes by bringing us to 1994 and a little beyond, and the final chapters are some of the most moving I have read in a quite a while, I struggled through the final pages with a lump in my throat, fighting back the tears. Full Circle is one of the most affecting books I have read.
Review: Full CircleUser Review - Jaya - Goodreads
Slashreaders LJ: Alrighty well this is an era that has always fascinated me. Not sure why but it does and specifically POW camps, ect. Anyway it is also not something you find a whole lot written ... Read full review