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Blood of the Unknowns, a sequel to Guns of the Abyss, is the second of two novels of political intrigue and warfare that follow a woman’s attempt to prevent the spreading cataclysm of events that ignite World War I. In Blood of the Unknowns, we visit the outcome of her vain political activism, and the misfortunes of her husband, a former assistant to the German Chancellor, now consigned to the machine of war as a low-ranking army private fighting at the behest of militarist aristocrats supportive of the imperialist government’s expansionary view of a European continent.
Under the moonlight, he and a fellow German soldier, a dark-skinned Gypsy recruit, share the same crowded stand in a muddy, hand-shoveled trench on the deadly Western Front. As oddly paired as two men of different backgrounds and experience might be, Privates Frieslaven and Maruska hunker in protective friendship, a vital, cooperative defense against enemy sniper fire, bombs and bayonets, and the failures of German leadership that result in the sacrifice of tens of thousands of men pushed beyond human capacity.
The human toll of death and gruesome injury soars on a daily basis as constant waves of courageous soldiers snip through braced lines of rolling barbwire, crawl across pock-marked fields, and watch in war-weary horror as compatriots ordered to charge are felled by machine gun fire so thick that retreat is inevitable for those few left standing. Unilateral surrender is not a choice, however bloodied the troops.