Astonishing, amazing, remarkable, and incredible, all apply to Linklater's The Code Of Love. You could add fascinating, riveting, captivating and engrossing. This is a true story that is a romance, a war story and a mystery all rolled into one.
Linklater moves seamlessly between the story of Pamela and Donald Hill's romance, Donald's horrific war story as a prisoner of war and the saga of decoding Donald's journal.
The early part of the book makes you feel as if you are living in England in the early 1940s. He paints a picture of daily life that is vibrant and clear.
He is equally clear when describing the world of ciphers and codes. In easily accessible language he tells the story of Philip Aston's attempts to break the code. This part of the story is fascinating all by its self. An added impact comes from the realization of just how brilliant and disciplined Donald had to have been to create and use such a code.
In many ways this is a book that broke my heart. Donald's fight for survival was heroic. I marveled at his sheer determination and grit. The courage it took to hold his mind and body together under appalling conditions and dreadful psychological trauma is almost unbelievable. He should have had a happy ending. . .Lord knows, he deserved it.
And yet, it was not to be. He obviously suffered from a severe case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which was unnamed and untreatable. In many ways his struggle to create a normal life, medicate himself with alcohol and bury the trauma are even more courageous than his basic survival.
If his story were not so familiar today I might have been able to shake it off. But over the last few days I have thought about the veterans of the current war. It is shameful that with all the information we have about PTSD our veterans are still untreated. They too, must struggle to create a normal life, medicate themselves and bury their trauma. What a miserable statement about our society!
Reading this book, however, will remind you of what really matter in life: the power of love. If you don't read another book this year, read this one!
An astonishing true tale of secrets, love, and war.
Pamela Kirrage, beautiful and impulsive, met and fell in love with the dashing RAF pilot Donald Hill just months before Hill was shipped off to the Far East to protect the British colonies against Japanese aggression. They exchanged rings the day before he left, a promise to marry as soon as he returned. Little did they know that five years would pass before they saw each other again.
The Code of Love tells the stirring tale of Donald's experiences in the front lines of the Pacific Theater and Pamela's war efforts back in England in a dramatic, deeply moving portrayal of the World War II era and its aftermath. On the day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, they also moved into Hong Kong, where Donald had the misfortune to be part of a small group of officers in charge of a meager five planes. He spent the rest of the war in a POW camp, keeping a journal of the indignities he faced in complex, nearly unbreakable code. Meanwhile, Pamela was swept into the frantic swirl of a wartime society eager to live to the fullest. She cooked meals for secret agents and danced the nights away with handsome soldiers. But her love for Donald never altered, and the two married within weeks of Donald's release at the end of the war. The scars Hill bore from his years of emotional encoding would eventually wear away at their relationship, though never their love.
Andro Linklater skillfully weaves the many fascinating parts of this tale together into an unforgettable narrative. From the mesmerizing siege of Hong Kong, to the romantic roller coaster of a truly great love, to the unbelievable efforts of the mathematician who finally cracked the encoded diary, The Code of Love is storytelling at its very finest.