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Clive Aslet

Clive Aslet is Editor at Large of Country Life magazine, and the author of numerous books and much journalism on architecture, style, the countryside and British, culture, history and way of life. Research for a recent non-fiction book (War Memorial, Viking 2013) was the inspiration for this, his first novel.  

This moving book… an important contribution to social history

Daily Express

Great elegance... fresh insights that bring the period to vivid life

Toby Clements, Daily Telegraph

The Birdcage

The Geraldine Cooke Agency
Sandstone Press

This sparkling fiction début presents Salonika in the First World War: a kaleidoscope of nationalities, cultures and political ambitions, shifting and re-forming around a group of young English men and women, blown here by many different winds: young nurses from a Women’s hospital; seasoned soldiers, pulled back from Gallipoli; a young art student – talented but uncouth – who is surprised into love of Elsie, a doughty young nurse; Isabel, the slightly ageing beauty of the Surrey Hills, who finds she is not immune to the glamour of a Serbian officer with nothing to lose and little to offer; ‘Simple’ Simon, who pursues spying and antiquarian studies with equal enthusiasm; the Kite Balloonists, who must trade off a sort of historical chivalry towards the enemy against the need to survive in a world so foreign to them.

This city, more than half-Jewish, which – until a few months ago – was one of the jewels of the Ottoman crown, is now suddenly Greek. Nominally neutral, it teems with French, British and Serbian armies. A city seething with intrigue, where café society pursues its way unperturbed, within earshot of the fighting, it is the Casablanca of WWI.

 It’s a breathless ride - eccentric, comic, moving, enthralling. Welcome aboard...