Review: Golgotha by Phil Hore

I received a digital of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book in any way.

Publisher: Odyssey Books

Published: May 2021

Pages: 306


1916, the Western Front.

There are some crimes that transcend the horrors of war, and the rumour of a soldier being found in no man’s land crucified to a church door threatens to cause a mutiny in the trenches. To placate the troops, allied HQ orders four soldiers pulled from the ranks of each army to investigate the crime and bring the perpetrator swiftly to justice.

What a Canadian ex-Mountie, an Australian beat cop, a constable from Scotland Yard, and their military intelligence commander discover will not only save the lives of the comrades, but may well save the entire war.

Full of factual events and historic occurrences, Golgotha looks into one of the darkest events to occur during the First World War.

My Thoughts…

CW: this book contains mentions of war and graphic violence.

Being stuck on the frontline in France fighting in the trenches during WWI, it seems as though things can’t really get much worse. Except they can. Rumours start to spread about a soldier being found crucified to a church door in no man’s land – and this could just be the final straw for the tired soldiers, enough to start a full-blown mutiny.

An unlikely team is pulled together to investigate under the supervision of a military intelligence officer. They will have to learn to trust each other while navigating the rumour mill to work out who committed this despicable crime, and just how far this conspiracy extends. All, of course, without being killed in the war in the meantime.

Golgotha is a high-stakes, gripping read. I hadn’t read anything like this before, so it came a bit as a surprise that I enjoyed this as much as I did. The story is based on certain real events, which I was fascinated to learn more about at the end of the book – I had no idea about any of it!

I loved how Golgotha kept me completely glued, turning pages late into the night to see where our investigators would win their race against time and solve the mystery before it was too late. I really enjoyed their cleverness in dialogues as well, and I definitely appreciated how the wit, humour, and sarcasm helped keep the book from becoming too heavy.

There were some parts I struggled with, though, especially most of the actual war scenes. Now, that is entirely personal preference and by no means the book’s fault, but I did have a hard time going through those and ended up skim reading most of them anyway. There are also some quite violent scenes, so maybe avoid this if that’s not something you’re comfortable reading about.

I also would have liked for some of the characters to be fleshed out a bit more, as some of them came across as slightly flat, and some of the secondary characters in particular felt a bit rushed. That being said, I did love to see how the author drew attention to all the various nationalities in the trenches and how those groups interacted, which really made this book stand out for me. I’d certainly be up for more investigations by this great team!

Rating: 3.5/5

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