The first I’ve listened to from the Strand Magazine Archive of short stories from Mulholland Books, this early reminiscence from the Inspector Ian Rutledge stories from Charles Todd is a question of morals, personality and phrasing. Narrated by Graham Halstead, please read on for my review of
A Guid Soldier
World War I, and Ian Rutledge has a new recruit from Glasgow, Dougal Kerr No discernable family, no mentioned past, the young man appears to be good-natured and easy going. But Rutledge wonders about the distinctions between the generally regarded ‘guid soldier’ and a man with a deep-seated enjoyment of killing
The first I’ve ever encountered from Charles Todd, Ian Rutledge is a thoughtful man, perhaps more than slightly torn with the requirements of his position. It’s war time, and the battles are fought up close and personal, and he very rightly believes that some sort of aftereffect should appear for men of conscience. Yet, Dougal has few or no aftereffects, and he only wishes to be a guid soldier.
Just what does make a soldier guid, and is this a failure in men – that they enjoy the challenges of war, including the killing? Does this make him, Ian Rutledge, the odd man out in having these thoughts, or is it Dougal, with his apparent enjoyment of killing the one who isn’t right.
A wonderful short story that provides a look at the conundrums that surround war: the moral ambiguity rooted in taking a life, yet being under orders to do so in a situation that is often a you or me quandary. Then, as you remember the stories of WW(, the close contact fighting, the now-primitive technology and weapons, and the questions are more disturbing. When you look another man in the eye as you deliver that killing blow, SHOULD you remember his face later?
Narration for this story was provided by Graham Halstead and his delivery and presentation of a story, full of complex emotions, was wonderful. No overreach in terms of voices, Halstead lets the story speak for itself, treating each of the author’s words as special. This allowed the impact of words and delivery to make the statement without outside influence.
Very different from the norm, the story provides a wonderful listen that spurs introspection, this short story did everything I could hope for in terms of delivering a memorable, impactful,, and well-written listen that encourages interest in further work by this author.
Stars: 4 Narration 4 Story 4
Title: A Guid Soldier
Author: Charles Todd
Series: Inspector Ian Rutledge #0.6
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery Elements, World War I
Narrator: Graham Halstead
Published by: Hachette Audio, Mulholland Books
Published on: 6 September 2016
Source: Hachette Audio
Audio Length: 24 minutes
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Set during Inspector Rutledge's time in the Great War, Charles Todd's short story introduces a born killer.
It's World War I, and young Glaswegian Dougal Kerr is a new recruit in the British army. Dougal has no family and no past, but his easygoing demeanor belies his cheerless upbringing. There's only one thing that gives Ian Rutledge pause: Dougal is very good at killing, and he doesn't seem to mind it at all--in fact, he seems to relish it. In wartime, how does one tell the difference between a remorseless killer and "a guid soldier"?
"A Guid Soldier" by Charles Todd is one of 20 short stories within Mulholland Books's Strand Originals series, featuring thrilling stories by the biggest names in mystery from the Strand Magazine archives. View the full series list at mulhollandbooks.com and listen to them all!
A copy of this title was provided via Hachette Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.