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Set during World War One, The Cellists Friend is the story of one mans battle to redeem his own cowardice while recovering from a near-fatal war wound. Ben has witnessed his cello player soldier friend shot for desertion. The soldier they nicknamed Cello played his instrument while his firing squad sang the poem Invictus before they shot him. This seems a victory over death for Cello while showing Bens cowardice at not revealing the truth of the incident that led to the flawed accusation of desertion. Recovering from his war wound and developing a love through exchanged letters for Pearl, the widow of the Jamaican soldier who saved him, Ben is haunted by flashbacks and the words of the poem Invictus and seeks redemption through poetry. He meets Cellos parents, telling them how he died but cannot tell them the whole truth or see how he might recover the actual cello played by their son at his execution. As Ben faces a return to duty and Pearl unexpectedly arrives in London, will their love blossom despite racial prejudice? And how will a writer friend of Pearl enable Ben to finally find the courage to face the terrible grief of Cellos parents and begin his own redemption?
Robert J Fanshawe is an ex-British Royal Marines Officer whose uncle was killed in the First World War. With a lifelong interest in the poetry and men involved in the war, he has written three plays. The Cellists Friend is the first of a trilogy of novels set in and after the war. Robert also writes non-fiction and some poetry. He lives with his family in London and is also greatly interested in sport and the performing arts.