Soldier’s Game

Eloquently portrayed, Soldier’s Game is two stories in one. Ross is a football-mad pupil at Bruntsfield Primary School and a huge fan of Heart of Midlothian Football Club. After a particularly humiliating defeat, his grandmother offers inspiration in the form of an old pair of football boots that had belonged to his great grandfather, who played for Hearts. This leads us into the second story, a true story of the 16th Royal Scots, the Hearts Battalion, of World War II fame.

Professional footballers were not volunteering to go to war and many families shunned them as cowards, a fact which distressed players and club officials alike. When long time Hearts supporter Lieutenant Colonel Sir George Macrae decided to raise a battalion of Hearts players and supporters to go to France, Hearts became the only club in Scotland to do so. Many players never returned, or returned too injured to return to the game they loved.

James Killgore is an American who lives in Edinburgh but whose daughter plays football. The story was made up to please her, but as Killgore was reading a book called Macrae’s Battalion by Jack Alexander at the time, he had the idea of blending fact and fiction in Soldier’s Game, thus paying tribute to a number of brave men who were heroes on and off the football pitch.

Books that boys will read are few and far between but this is a book which is well worth reading, whether you’re male or female, boy or girl.

About Suse Coon

Suse Coon started life training to be an architect but ended up as a fashion buyer then civil servant. After some time out to bring up her family of three, she returned to what had been a hobby and entered the field of freelance journalism. After becoming regional correspondent, then editor of the orienteering magazine CompassSport, she formed Pages Editorial & Publishing Services. In this guise, West Lothian Life was launched, while Suse maintained a level of freelancing and wrote the award winning children's novel Richard's Castle. In 1999, Suse bought over CompassSport and found her time taken up pretty well exclusively with the two magazines. In 2004, West Lothian Life was expanded to form Lothian Life, however, the workload was too great. In 2006, CompassSport was sold and Suse concentrated on the web version of Lothian Life. Her hobbies include gardening, orienteering, sea kayaking and Tai Chi.
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