A letter introducing the book
When World War One began in August of 1914 my grandfather, Arthur Hercules Slade, took a boat from his adopted country of Canada back to England so that he could be one of the first to enlist. He, like many men of his generation, was excited by romantic ideals of war and a chance to see the world. He was trained to fire a machine gun and charge on horseback with a sword. His cavalry regiment was sent to Egypt and, later, to Palestine to fight against the Turks. He spent nearly four years in the Middle East, taking part in several major conflicts, including the final battle between the British and the Turks: the battle for Megiddo (Megiddo is an ancient city built on a seventy-foot rock platform; the word Armageddon means the "armies will gather at Megiddo"). My grandfather was once asked, "What was it like to be in the war?" He answered, "I was everywhere that Jesus was, but I couldn't find him anywhere."
Megiddo's Shadow is inspired by my grandfather's story. I wondered what it would be like to believe in God and King and Country and to have those beliefs tested in the Holy Land itself. How could anyone find the courage to charge a machine gun with only a sword in hand? And what does it truly mean to kill another man? But as I worked on this novel I realized that it wasn't just a historical novel: much of what I was writing about continues to happen today. The roots of many of the difficulties that exist in the Middle East now can be traced to events that occurred and decisions that were made during the First World War.
I was named after my grandfather and this book is my attempt to live up to that name. It has been my hardest novel to complete, five years of research and writing have come down to these pages. I hope that this story lives up to his legacy.