The Shattered Tree
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The Shattered Tree : A Bess Crawford Mystery

3.74 (3,209 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

World War I battlefield nurse Bess Crawford goes to dangerous lengths to investigate a wounded soldier's background-and uncover his true loyalties-in this thrilling and atmospheric entry in the bestselling "vivid period mystery series" (New York Times Book Review).

At the foot of a tree shattered by shelling and gunfire, stretcher-bearers find an exhausted officer, shivering with cold and a loss of blood from several wounds. The soldier is brought to battlefield nurse Bess Crawford's aid station, where she stabilizes him and treats his injuries before he is sent to a rear hospital. The odd thing is, the officer isn't British-he's French. But in a moment of anger and stress, he shouts at Bess in German.

When Bess reports the incident to Matron, her superior offers a ready explanation. The soldier is from Alsace-Lorraine, a province in the west where the tenuous border between France and Germany has continually shifted through history, most recently in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, won by the Germans. But is the wounded man Alsatian? And if he is, on which side of the war do his sympathies really lie?

Of course, Matron could be right, but Bess remains uneasy-and unconvinced. If he was a French soldier, what was he doing so far from his own lines . . . and so close to where the Germans are putting up a fierce, last-ditch fight?

When the French officer disappears in Paris, it's up to Bess-a soldier's daughter as well as a nurse-to find out why, even at the risk of her own life.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 304 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 26mm | 454g
  • WILLIAM MORROW
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0062386271
  • 9780062386274
  • 775,184

Back cover copy

World War I battlefield nurse Bess Crawford goes to dangerous lengths to investigate a wounded soldier's background--and uncover his true loyalties--in this thrilling and atmospheric entry in the bestselling "vivid period mystery series" (New York Times Book Review)

France, October 1918. Though the war is nearing its end, the German enemy refuses to go quietly. During a nighttime barrage, British stretcher bearers find an exhausted officer, shivering with cold and a loss of blood from several wounds, clinging to life at the foot of a tree shattered by shelling and gunfire. The soldier is brought to Bess Crawford's aid station, where she stabilizes him and treats his injuries before he is sent to a base hospital. Surprisingly, the officer isn't British--he's wearing the tattered remnants of a French uniform. And even stranger, when he shouts out in anger and pain, he speaks in fluent German.

When Bess reports the incident to the hospital's matron, her weary superior offers a plausible explanation. The soldier must be from Alsace-Lorraine, a province in the west where the tenuous border between France and Germany has shifted through history, most recently in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, which was won by the Germans. Of course, Matron could be right. Still, Bess remains uneasy--and unconvinced. What was a French soldier doing so far from his own lines . . . and so close to where the Germans are putting up a fierce, last-ditch fight? And if he is Alsatian, on which side of the war do his sympathies really lie?

Before she can inquire further, Bess is wounded while helping to evacuate soldiers from the battlefield. Sent to Paris to recuperate, she discovers that her mysterious soldier is also in the French capital . . . but has disappeared. Could he have been the infamous German spotter for the "Paris Gun" that is the talk of the Allied Army? It had shelled terrified Parisians earlier in the year, then fell silent. Or could he be involved in some other dark treachery?

With the unexpected help of Captain Barkley, the congenial American whose path crossed with hers once before, the intrepid Bess--a soldier's daughter and dedicated nurse--embarks on a dangerous hunt to find the man and uncover the truth, even at the risk of her own life.
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Review quote

Praise for The Shattered Tree: "The Shattered Tree is an enjoyable and quick read-well worth the time." -- New York Journal of Books "A fast, engrossing, and entertaining read....The mystery has excellent pacing, giving readers just enough clues to keep us absorbed in the story while withholding sufficient information to keep us from solving it before reaching the end." -- All About Romance "[A] riveting mystery... It is almost as if the Great War has become a secondary character." -- MilitaryPress.com "Todd's meticulous research... illustrates the toll the war has taken on the battle-weary military as well as the nurses and doctors, the sacrifices of the residents, [and] the citizens' valiant struggle to maintain a sense of normalcy.... A vivid and personal look at WWI." -- SouthFlorida.com "The Shattered Tree is a true spellbinder. From spies to the brutal facts of war to Bess's unwavering determination to uncover the truth, author Charles Todd has penned yet another fantastic thriller." -- Suspense Magazine "Admirable, courageous and occasionally reckless, Bess ranks among the best of fictional amateur sleuths. [Todd] again creates a thought-provoking novel that evokes the terrors and suspicions of war." -- Richmond Times-Dispatch Another Charles Todd book is always a luscious treat, and I devoured The Shattered Tree in one sitting... Highly recommended. -- Historical Novel Society Praise for A Question of Honor: "A gripping whodunit haunted by the brutal realities of war and graced with the selfless determination of Bess to uncover the truth." -- Richmond Times-Dispatch on A QUESTION OF HONOR Praise for An Unwilling Accomplice: "Bess is a character with depth and complexity, an army nurse during that awful war, so, like that series, not only intricate mysteries but engrossing historical fiction." -- SCDemocrat.com on AN UNWILLING ACCOMPLICE Praise for A Pattern of Lies: "A richly realistic depiction of both the era and people who lived through it." -- Margaret Maron, Edgar Award-winning author "[Charles Todd's] books are like Sherlock Holmes detecting a crime in Downton Abbey, with more gravitas." -- Nancy Thayer, author of THE ISLAND HOUSE "As always in this immensely satisfying series, Todd heightens the mystery by setting it within a war-shattered world of battered villages, barren farms and broken people." -- Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review on THE SHATTERED TREE
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About Charles Todd

Charles Todd is the New York Times bestselling author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries, the Bess Crawford mysteries, and two stand-alone novels. A mother-and-son writing team, they live on the East Coast.
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Rating details

3,209 ratings
3.74 out of 5 stars
5 22% (707)
4 39% (1,241)
3 32% (1,020)
2 7% (209)
1 1% (32)
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