There have been some very positive reviews and response for The Constant Soldier so far – not least of which was its been shortlisting for The Irish Crime Fiction Book of The Year.
Another pleasant surprise was BBC History Magazine’s making it one of their historical novels of the year (and heaping praise on it along the way):
Barry Forshaw liked it in The Financial Times – the review is behind a paywall so here it is in full:
Many critics noted the superlative talent of William Ryan with his first book The Holy Thief (2010), which focused on an honest policeman in 1930s Soviet Russia. His new novel, The Constant Soldier, is more straight historical novel than crime and benefits from a strikingly characterised protagonist.
1944. Stumbling back wounded from the eastern front, Paul Brandt finds his German village transformed into an SS retreat for concentration camp commandants, run with the help of female prisoners. Brandt recognises one of these women and realises he must protect her, whatever the cost. Ryan offers a penetrating picture of Germany’s experience of the second world war, crammed full of trenchant historical detail. It may be his most accomplished book yet.
Choice Magazine called it an “atmospheric thriller [that] grips from start to finish.
The Daily Telegraph called The Constant Soldier “a terrific novel”:
The Constant Soldier was tipped as a “Must Read Book” in The Daily Express:
Simon Booker described it as having “the hallmark of a prize-winning good read” in the Irish Sunday Independent:
While The Times recommended the novel’s “elegant powerful prose”, saying “The Constant Soldier has the pace of a thriller, with characters and themes that are nuanced and subtle”.
The Irish Times gave The Constant Soldier a very thorough review here with Declan Burke describing it as “a beguiling blend, a spy novel-cum-historical thriller that offers a gripping but nuanced narrative”.
The South China Morning Post were kind enough to review it here praising it’s “extraordinary scenes”.
The Lancashire Evening Post seem to also have taken a fancy to the novel here, calling it “a modern classic from a master storyteller”.
The Daily Mail were also very enthusiastic here, calling The Constant Soldier “subtle, suspenseful and superb”.
The Irish Independent had nice things to say about The Constant Soldier here, describing it as “an intense, gripping, emotionally charged read”.
Sue Leonard interviewed me in The Irish Examiner and was also an admirer of the novel, saying: “Ryan has produced a literary work, which, through complex yet realistic characters makes sense of the unthinkable. His portrait of the ending of the war, when the retreating camp officers realise they will be judged by their enemies, is skilfully evoked. And the ending — showing a glimpse of hope, is beautifully judged.”
Blue Book Balloon Was another admirer of The Constant Soldier here calling it “a magnificent read”.
Novel Heights liked it as well here saying “beautifully written, thought-provoking and emotionally compelling, I can’t recommend this highly enough”.
Liz Loves Books joined in with even more praise here calling The Constant Soldier “emotive, thought provoking and completely engaging first page to last” as well as saying lots of other nice things.
Liz Loves Books also kindly hosted a conversation between William and Rod Reynolds, a very fine crime writer, here.
Chillers, Killers and Thrillers gave The Constant Soldier the thumbs up here, saying it was “a heart-stopping, gripping story of loss, love, resilience, guilt and above all hope – I cannot recommend this book enough”.
For Winter Nights liked the novels as well as you can read here, saying “The Constant Soldier is an immensely powerful, emotionally charged, beautifully written novel”.
The Book Trail was another buyer here – “William Ryan is the master builder in every sense of the word. Every brick, every word builds a picture of sheer brutality, bloody history but a heartbreaking story of the human spirit.”