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'Of All Faiths & None' The Reason Behind the Name

The working title of the novel for 16 years was 'Castle Drogo'. However, when I came to publish the book I changed the title. There were three reasons for this, which I explain in this and a further blog to follow.

The first reason was that the novel is an anti-war story, depicting the tragedy and loss that is encountered. In Chapter 56 of the novel, Celia and Edwin Lutyens travel down to Drewsteignton to see Sir Julius Drewe. This is in June 1917 and Edwin Lutyens had just been asked by the war graves commission to design something for the war cemeteries in France and Belgium, as it had become impossible to bring the dead back home. Lutyens' idea was for a stone of remembrance, and not just a cross, as many of the dead were from Britain's commonwealth and not of the Christian faith. He therefore chose a stone that could be used by those of all faiths and none - a phrase which was subsequently used by the war graves commission.

The Stone of Remembrance was adopted by the war graves commission and was used in cemeteries where more than1,000 soldiers had been buried or reported lost. The idea behind the stone was not an altar but to give concrete expression to the idea of eternity. These 'silent cities' as they were referred to are scattered across Belgium and France. The words on the stone were chosen by Rudyard Kipling, from Ecclesiasticus, in the Kings James Version of The Bible: ‘Their name liveth for evermore’. For many years I visited the battlefields of France and Belgium visiting these cemeteries. When one stands before a Stone of Remembrance there is no greater advocate for peace upon earth than the massed dead that lay behind you. I often fear that the message that these cemeteries provide to us is being steadily and surely forgotten. It appears to me that all too quickly diplomacy stops and the battle lines are drawn and it is just ordinary people that have to pay the price. If even one copy of my novel is sold and that message is implanted into just one person then the time it took to write this book has been worthwhile.

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