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First Light (Paperback) (Mark Hayhurst)
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Now. Tonight. Before we're sent back to the front. Take every bit of money you got. Ditch everything else.
July 1916. Albert Ingham and Alfred Longshaw are crouched in a muddy, rat-infested trench in France. These sharp and funny young soldiers from a battalion of the Manchester Pals are about to take part in one of the most savage assaults in the history of human warfare, The Battle of the Somme.
Their survival is a miracle. Their company has lost 600 men. Overwhelmed by the sheer horror of the experience, neither of them dare stare extinction in the face again. So, when they are ordered to transfer to the Machine Gun Corps and return to the blood-soaked front line, they decide, for the first time in their young lives, to take their fragile destiny in their own trembling hands.
But becoming a deserter, that most embarrassing and shameful sort of fighting man, takes more courage than they ever knew they had.
Mark Hayhurst's play is a gripping thriller that exposes the impact of the First World War on soldiers and their families. It follows his acclaimed debut at Chichester Festival Theatre with Taken at Midnight in 2014, which transferred to the West End the following year. First Light received its world premiere at Chichester's Minerva Theatre on 10 June 2016.