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News from a wargamer with a special interest in the military history of the Balkans. It mainly covers my current reading and wargaming projects. For more detail you can visit the web sites I edit - Balkan Military History and Glasgow & District Wargaming Society. Or follow me on Twitter @Balkan_Dave

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

The Birdcage

My latest reading has been Clive Aslet's novel 'The Birdcage'. Perhaps not my usual genre, but I was drawn to it because it takes place in Salonika during World War One. The Birdcage was the name given to the armed camp surrounding the city that served as a base for allied troops.

The novel is a bit of a curates egg. There are a number of plots and characters, few of which seem to join up into a theme. However, it does give an authentic flavour of what the polyglot city was like during this period. We have a spy theme, the women's hospital, a balloon unit and all the daily routines. Possibly the best chapters deal with the Serbian battles in the mountains, north of Salonika.

For those familiar with this period of the Macedonian Campaign, the history doesn't seem quite right. It deals with the Serbian offensive, but not the British and French advance out of the Birdcage. I suppose this is the novelists licence, but needless to say, I found it irritating. Especially when the author has obviously done a lot of research in memoirs, letters etc.

I wouldn't recommend it, but if your interested in this period, it is worth a quick read.


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