I have to say I’m quite enjoying this book review bit. Usually i’ll just finish a book and then pick up another one straight away but this allows a little more thought about what i’ve just read. As you can see from the cover this cost the princely sum of £1 – and was a pound well spent in my view.
I have just finished Baptism of Blood by K.N Kostov and thought it was a pretty reasonable read. The story involves a disgraced Colonel who is called on to defend Moscow from the invading Nazi’s by taking a punishment battalion (made up of men who had been in prison/gulag that ‘volunteered’ for the battalion. These were mainly pimps, murderers, traitors and general bad lads) and defending some key positions near the Volga river. You can only imagine the hell that would have been the Russian front during the freezing winter of 1941 with the might of the German Army continaully providing the soundtrack of artillery shells and machine gun fire. It’s an action packed story with a couple of notable characters – all of whom are a bit messed up. You just know that some of them are going to die in particularly nasty ways but i suppose that’s half the fun of a fiction book about war. They fight, freeze, loot and die in what must have been largely intolerable conditions but they are a rough ragtag bunch and get on with the job at hand (after considerable threats). I think the blurb on the back sums it up pretty well…