RESEARCH on a First World War battle carried out while a newspaper reporter in Worcester gave one new author the inspiration for his debut novel.

David Dunham, who swapped the city for New Zealand, found there was little known about the British regiment that was heralded as having 'saved the British Empire'.

Combining fact and fiction, David used his research into The Battle of Gheluvelt as the basis for his debut novel The Silent Land, a story which is set predominantly in Worcestershire.

He said: "It was my intention to not focus on the mechanics of the battle, but on the human story of those involved."

The Silent Land evolved as a story of grief - the loss of a husband through conflict to highlight the madness of war.

David's historical novel details the life of Rebecca who, having believed joy had come into her life, learns the truth about how her mother died.

Marriage to her first love and motherhood pulls her back from resentment, only for the First World War to threaten her peace when her husband is sent to fight. When she discovers another lie which could fracture her world, she is faced with the choice of ignoring it, or letting the scars of the past corrupt her.

He explained: "Rebecca demonstrates how people can obtain strength at times when it seems inconceivable.

"With so much conflict in the world, its not just the people going away to fight who feel the effects, those left behind also have to suffer the consequences."

The Silent Land is a beautifully-written tale of love, loss and war

David worked as a reporter and deputy editor at the Worcester Standard as well as a senior producer and homepage editor in New Zealand.

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