Joyce Cary was 23 years old at the start of the Balkan War of 1912-1913.
A one-time art student in Edinburgh and Paris and newly down from Trinity College, Oxford he went through the war as a stretcher-bearer in the Red Cross.
Shortly after his return, the possessor of the Montenegrin equivalent of the Military Cross, he wrote Memoir of the Bobotes without thought of publication.
It is an extraordinarily vivid account of a forgotten war fought by peasants under primitive conditions - yet particularly fascinating today to readers with memories of later Balkan wars.
It is both a moving and illuminating account of the war but it also offers a self-portrait of a young, upper-class Englishman - idealistic, sensitive, romantic - living in the belief that ‘there would be no more wars’.
“In the desert of modern English fiction, Joyce Cary is a precious oasis.”
“A marvellous writer – fresh, funny, popping with life.”