A poignant story in shades of light and dark with elements ranging from elation to desperation.University graduate, Nick, turns his back on a career in medicine when his parents are killed in a road accident and, determined to see some action, he signs up as a new recruit in the Royal Engineers. Pat, brought up in Belfast during the conflict there, and a sergeant with several years’ experience in the regiment, lives and breathes the army. The two soldiers form a lasting friendship.When the aircraft touches down in the Middle East, they discover a land ravaged by death and destruction. In a brave struggle to survive the bitter conflict and remain one step ahead to stay alive, they strive to outmanoeuvre the network of underground fighters, a band of merciless killers who deviously eliminate anyone in their path.What seemed so far away and intangible back in England becomes reality as they encounter the real obscenities and violence of war. Along the way the two soldiers face anguish and anxiety, suffering physically and mentally and knowing, to their cost, that bravery doesn’t come cheap.But what of the women in their lives? Clare is desperately in love with Nick, dreading what the future might hold and eagerly awaiting his return. Kathleen constantly worries that her son, Pat, will suffer the same fate as her husband, who was killed fighting in the streets of Belfast. How will these women cope in times of despair? How will they react to adversity?