Publishing year: 1981
This new book is set after the Second World War.
The main character is a nurse, Honour Langtry, who is stationed in ward X, a section of a war hospital in Eastern Asia, which tends to soldiers suffering from what is called troppo, a mental condition caused by mental climate. Now that the war is over, a new patient is admitted, Michael Wilson. Apart from Wilson, there are five other men in the war: Neil Parkinson, Luce Dagget, Matt Sawyer, Benedict Maynard, and Nugget Jones.
So far we have known a little about Neil Parkinson and Luce Dagget. Neil and Langtry seem to have a certain understanding, not a love affair, but somehow they know that when they go home, they might start a love relationship. Neil is in ward X because after he made a mistake in the front which got his men killed, he sank into depression.
As far as I’ve seen, Luce is a quite nasty character. He’s handsome and was an actor before joining the war. When he first came to stay in the war, Langtry felt attracted to him, but she soon got disenchanted when the man verbally abused one of the other patients. Luce doesn’t seem to have any mental problems, but apparently, he was involved in some blackmailing, and when nobody could prove the crime, his superiors sent him there. In the ward he and Neil Parkinson are clearly at odds with each other as two macho alphas in the same herd.
Now the main issue is the new patient, Michael Wilson, who Langtry thinks has no problem at all. She reads his record which recounts an incident with another private in which Wilson almost killed him. The report tells about Michael’s change of attitude was caused by his best friend’s death. There was talk about the two men being lovers, and this man Michael attacked was verbal about Michael’s homosexuality. Langtry is upset after reading the report because she feels that ward X is like a limbo where they get sent those men that the army don’t know what to do with them. Yet, she can’t do much to fight the system. Her superior Colonel Donaldson, a neurologist, clearly antagonizes her and is deaf to her opinions.
The start of the book is interesting, but I’m not sure where all this will follow.