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Dr Michael Kelly has taught mathematics to high-school students and the history and philosophy of science to tertiary students. A schoolboy during the Second World War, he was young enough to experience its end as a departure from normality, discovering for the first time that food did not have to be rationed and that ice cream did not have to be white. One of his uncles was captured in Crete, another flew with the RAF’s Coastal Command, and his family befriended American sailors awaiting orders to join the Pacific war. Memories of that time, and of its zeitgeist of self-sacrifice grafted onto ordinary life, were burned permanently into his consciousness. At the same time he was already questioning the ethics of military conflict in what was essentially as philosophical way, and his religious upbringing stimulated the beginnings of sympathy for Australia’s enemies. Such memories, playing at the back of his mind for a lifetime, have given rise to this novel.