book review the single soldier

BOOK REVIEW: The Single Soldier by George Costigan

by David Hall

Actor, George Costigan has recently released his debut novel The Single Soldier. Described as “A magnificent, big beast of a book,” by playwright, musician and novelist Willy Russell, this story is set in France during the German occupation.

It is said home is where the heart is, but when war rips from a young man everything he loves, will he be able to find his way back to anything that matters? Amidst the political, personal and emotional devastation of the German Occupation, this young man moves his house, using only his hands, a cow and a cart, to a field six kilometres the other side of his village. Where he will re-build it? Why would anyone do such a thing? As the community around him prepares for peace, can he?

History, passion, love, secrets and painful truths collide in this astonishingly human, warm and emotive debut from writer George Costigan.

George Costigan has been a motorparts storeman, a trainee accountant, another trainee accountant (both failed) a steel-worker, an insurance clerk, a wood-cutter, a bookseller, a record salesman, a book-keeper for a wedding dress business – and then someone asked him to be in a play. It was at the Liverpool Everyman Theatre where he met some hugely influential people including Willy Russell (Educating Rita, Shirley Valentine), Chris Bond (Sweeney Todd), Alan Bleasedale (Boys from the Black Stuff) and his wife Julia North who was also in the company.

Sally Wainwright

Sally Wainwright

More recently, his acting career has included working with award winning writer Sally Wainwright (Scott and Bailey, Unforgiven and Happy Valley).

Sally said: “The Single Soldier is beautifully written. The characters and the community are so vividly and colourfully conjured up.”

His career has included writing for the small screen and stage before this debut novel. He and wife Julia North wrote an episode of the popular 90s TV series Birds of a Feather and his theatre work includes several Liverpool Everyman shows and Trust Byron, for which he was nominated for Best Actor at the 1990 Edinburgh Festival.

George Costigan, star of the 1987 hit film Rita, Sue and Bob Too and the recent award-winning television drama Happy Valley said: “I believe in the arts, it’s given me my life. I also
believe it’s a duty to support the arts locally, all over the country, because culture and the arts add hugely to people’s lives.”

He went on to say, “I am thrilled this work (The Single Soldier) has made it to print, a long-held ambition and if people enjoy it, so very much the better.”

The Single Soldier, is available to order via Amazon, the Urbane Publications website and all
good bookshops.