Tour of Duty by William H Coles is an outstanding literary historical work set during the Cold War, in post-war France. In 1960, Miles Ballard is inducted to serve in the US Air Force. He arrives in France and immediately becomes aware of the French hostility to Americans. Miles’s hope of providing patients with proper care is hindered by military bureaucracy and an antagonistic boss. His social circle includes Oliver, a fellow military doctor, and his wife, Ingrid, who is researching the Holocaust and plans to write a book about it. He becomes acquainted with Alyce Read, the daughter of a general who Miles is assigned to care for. Alyce is a journalist who is investigating the war and plans to document the atrocities committed.
William H Coles writes with a keen historical sense, bringing the setting to life through his precise descriptions of life in France during the 1960s. The characters he creates are not just ordinary figures but realistic, compelling people with authentic stories and emotional depth. I was consistently immersed in the story and found the subplots unique and captivating. I also found the dialogues entertaining. Many scenes were genuinely surprising and the story’s end was rewarding. The book is also enlightening as it delves into France’s history and the events surrounding the war. Tour of Duty by William H Coles is a masterful historical novel written with insight. It is a fine work with extraordinary characters that effectively explores Europe’s prevailing circumstances following WWII. I loved this book. It is captivating and well-written.