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Publisher's Summary

Inspired by the real-life experiences of his grandfather, JRR Tolkien, during World War I, Simon Tolkien delivers a perfectly rendered novel rife with class tension, period detail, and stirring action, ranging from the sharply divided society of northern England to the trenches of the Somme.

Adam Raine is a boy cursed by misfortune. His impoverished childhood in turn-of-the-century London comes to a sudden and tragic end when his mother is killed in a workers' protest march. His father, Daniel, is barely able to cope with the loss. But a job offer in the coal mining town of Scarsdale presents one last chance, so father and son head north. The relocation is hard on Adam: the local boys prove difficult to befriend, and he never quite fits in. Meanwhile tensions between the miners and their employer, Sir John Scarsdale, escalate, and finally explode with terrible consequences.

In the aftermath, Adam's fate shifts once again, and he finds himself drawn into the opulent Scarsdale family home where he makes an enemy of Sir John's son, Brice, who subjects Adam to a succession of petty cruelties for daring to step above his station. However, Adam finds consolation in the company of Miriam, the local parson's beautiful daughter with whom he falls in love. When they become engaged and Adam wins a scholarship to Oxford, he starts to feel that his life is finally coming together - until the outbreak of war threatens to tear everything apart.

From the slums of London to the riches of an Edwardian country house; from the hot, dark seams of a Yorkshire coal mine to the exposed terrors of the trenches in France; Adam's journey from boy to man is set against the backdrop of a society violently entering the modern world.

©2017 Simon Tolkien (P)2017 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Vivid set pieces, notably a wonderful section down a mine, while Adam is an intriguing central character: clever, sincere and, amid the turbulence of early 20th-century England, a determined survivor." ( Daily Mail)
"[Tolkien's] most ambitious work yet...Adam makes an attractive hero and his story has more than enough colour and energy to keep us reading." ( Sunday Times, London)
"In this emotionally charged novel, Tolkien brings to the fore the social injustice, poverty and attrition of war in early 20th-century England. The scenes underground in the mines of Scarsdale are every bit as shocking as the harrowing descriptions of trench warfare when Adam and his comrades are repeatedly sent over the top." ( Sunday Express)

What listeners say about No Man's Land

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Highly recommend

This was one of my favorite Audible books. Simon Tolkien's compelling novel brings the coal mining industry of England during the early part of the 20th Century and World War I (in particular, the Battle of the Somme) to life, with all of its human tragedies. The narration was superb.

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Masterful storytelling

First book I’ve read by this author. Hard to put down. He developed the characters fully and his scenes moved along apace. Wonderful narration by Christian Coulson. First book in awhile that I’ve given 5 stars all the way. If you’re a thinking reader, and not just looking for a time waster, you will appreciate this masterpiece. It affirms humanity while at the same time exposing its underbelly.

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Great book

for those who love Tolkien-like storytelling but have no patience for epic fantasy. A page turner.

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Great early 20th century epic

I enjoyed this one so much! I wasn't sure that I would, but the epic sweep of the story, the themes of coming of age, class and war, the descriptive writing were all great. And the narrator was fantastic. Very enjoyable way to spend 19 hr!