The Constant Soldier

4.52 based on 50 ratings & 31 reviews on

The pain woke him up. He was grateful for it. The train had stopped and somewhere, up above them, the drone of aircraft engines filled the night sky. He could almost remember her smile . . . It must be the morphine . . . He had managed not to think about her for months now.

1944. Paul Brandt, a soldier in the German army, returns wounded and ashamed from the bloody chaos of the Eastern front to find his village home much changed and existing in the dark shadow of an SS rest hut - a luxurious retreat for those who manage the concentration camps, run with the help of a small group of female prisoners who - against all odds - have so far survived the war.

When, by chance, Brandt glimpses one of these prisoners, he realizes that he must find a way to access the hut. For inside is the woman to whom his fate has been tied since their arrest five years before, and now he must do all he can to protect her.

But as the Russian offensive moves ever closer, the days of this rest hut and its SS inhabitants are numbered. And while hope - for Brandt and the female prisoners - grows tantalizingly close, the danger too is now greater than ever.

And, in a forest to the east, a young female Soviet tank driver awaits her orders to advance . . .

A book of great moral seriousness and a tense and grippingly atmospheric thriller, The Constant Soldier is a brilliant evocation of the price of redemption and the cost of guilt. An important book but one that reads with all the panache and skill of a thriller. Highly recommended
Stav Sherez (author of The Devil's Playground)
A gripping story of the struggle for humanity in the last days of the war. Ryan makes you think, makes you feel and makes you turn the page
Michael Ridpath (author of Where the Shadows Lie)
The Constant Soldier is a nuanced, complex and gripping tale of guilt and love that captures the chaos at the end of WWII
A.L. Kennedy (author of Costa Award Winning novel, DAY)

About William Ryan

William Ryan was called to the English bar after university in Dublin, then worked as a lawyer in the City. His novels THE HOLY THIEF, THE BLOODY MEADOW and THE TWELFTH DEPARTMENT set in 1930s Stalinist Russia, have been shortlisted for the Theakston’s Crime Novel of the Year Award, the CWA New Blood Dagger, the Irish Fiction Award and twice for the Ireland AM Irish Crime Novel of the Year Award. William is married and lives in West London.

Read More

Books by William Ryan

The Holy Thief
The Holy Thief
The Bloody Meadow
The Bloody Meadow
The Twelfth Department
The Twelfth Department

From our blogs

William Ryan's favourite <br/>historical crime novels

William Ryan's favourite
historical crime novels

22 August 2016

By Pan Macmillan

The best historical crime fiction books, as chosen by William Ryan, author of The Constant Soldier.