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The Red Planet

William John Locke

Book Overview: 

Set during WWI in England, The Red Planet is a rich tale about the life in a little English town from the point of view of Major Duncan Meredyth, a disabled veteran of the Boer Wars. As he struggles to keep his life and the lives of those he cares for in harmony, he must also shelter a dark secret regarding one of the village's favorite sons.

The Red Planet was the third bestselling novel in the United States the year it was published.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .; the other, khaki-clad and towering above her, had his arm round her waist. The car pulled up at the front door. Before we had time to ring, a trim parlour-maid appeared.

"Mrs. Boyce is not at home, sir."

Marigold, who, when my convenience was in question, swept away social conventions like cobwebs, fixed her with his one eye, and before I could interfere, said:

"I'm afraid you're mistaken. I've just seen Major Boyce and Madam on the lawn."

The maid reddened and looked at me appealingly.

"My orders were to say not at home, sir."

"I quite understand, Mary," said I. "Major Boyce is home on short leave, and they don't want to be disturbed. Isn't that it?"

"Yes, sir."

"Marigold," said I. "Right about turn."

Marigold, who had stopped the car, got out unwillingly and went to the starting-handle. That I should be refused admittance to a house which I had deig. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Never, never, never judge a book by its title. This is a prime example of why doing so may lead you down the wrong path or fall short of your expectations. With a title like The Red Planet, one immediately congers visions of a masculine red glow in the night sky and it screams of the science fict...more

This one was heavy going. Up to this point Locke was known as a writer of light and entertaining novels. WWI affected him deeply (as it did most British writers) and this book shows the effect. There's a little of his eccentric touch in the characters, but there's nothing fun either. Unfortunatel...more

Last month I was in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica, staying in a hostel accessible only by Land Rover (most guests hitchhike their way up). The hostel was set not only in a remote place but a remote time. A rustic sprawling farmhouse in the mountains, it was all dark wood, vaulted ceilings, and sm...more