Title: A Casualty of War
Author: Charles Todd
Though the Great War is nearing its end–Armentieres is back in Allied hands, Cambrai has fallen to the Canadians, Turkey is collapsing, and the Germans are on the retreat–the fighting rages on. Like the battered and weary soldiers she tends, Bess Crawford yearns for an end to the bloodshed taking a devastating toll on everyone, including her fellow doctors and nurses.
Waiting for her transport north, Bess meets Captain Alan Travis, and Englishman whose branch of the family made its fortune on the Caribbean island of Barbados. Their brief, pleasant conversation is a respite from the carnage ahead as they return to duty.
Then, at the beginning of November, Bess unexpectedly encounters Captain Travis again. Brought into her forward aid station bloodied and disoriented from a head wound, the Captain insists that the man who shot him was an English officer–a distant cousin named James Travis–and asks for Bess’s help finding him. Bess’s inquires about Lieutenant Travis turn up nothing, forcing her to believe that a concussion must have clouded the wounded man’s mind.
Days later, fate brings her and the Captain together a third time when he is severely wounded. Again Captain Travis accuses James of shooting him, denouncing him as a killer. But Bess learns that James couldn’t possibly have shot his cousin–which brings Alan Travis’s sanity into question. Bess has seen the impact of war on too many exhausted men whose grasp of reality slipped into nightmare. The hospital is dealing with an angry, tormented patient. Yet Bess remembers an able, clearheaded officer.
As the war comes to a bloody end, Bess is given leave, and in an English clinic for brain injuries, she discovers a suicidal Captain Travis strapped to his bed. Horrified by his condition, she and Sergeant Major Simon Brandon travel to James Travis’s home in Suffolk to learn more about the baffling relationship between these two cousins. Her search for the truth about Alan Travis will lead this smart, capable, and compassionate young women into unexpected danger, and bring her face-to-face with the visible and invisible wounds of war that not even the much-longed-for peace can heal.