An Aberfeldy author has published his story set during the fall of France during the Second World War.
Luc de Fontenac is a professor at the University of Paris who dons his role in the French army in command of an anti-aircraft battery.
His love interest is a Jewish woman who knows that every effort made in her factory keeps France in the war for another moment.
Author Ruary MacKenzie Dodd’s said: “It’s a love story, but it’s centred basically in France in 1940 as France collapsed.”
‘As France collapses’, says Ruary, ‘they become separated and try to find each other again.’
Romance, bravery and dispelling the myth that France was a cowardly nation are some of the most important themes throughout Luc’s War.
“You know, there’s a sort of reputation of what happened to the French at that point.” Explained Ruary.
“Because we in Britain see it from the point of view of the Battle of Britain and Dunkirk.”
“And it’s very often to get the impression that the French all ran away, and that really isn’t true as I discovered.”
But for Ruary, it’s not as simple as that, the prevailing narrative in Britain overlooks a crucial aspect of the war says the Aberfeldy author.
“I found out, for example, that more French soldiers were killed per week in that six-week period than in any week of world war one, including the awful carnage of Verdun.
“So, there was a huge amount of bravery exhibited by French soldiers at that time, and I wanted to point that time.”
But “there is a direct connection between here in Highland Perthshire” says Ruary, “in the sense that there’s a Scot’s character who is absolutely central to the plot.”
“And he is the son of an imaginary Colonel based in Fortingall, so there are quite a number of references to Highland Perthshire and to the Blackwatch.
“And readers will be able to spot these references, indeed I’ve had several comments on emails from people who’ve read the books and appreciate the connections.”
And the story connects deeper than its connections to Highland Perthshire but runs through his wife’s family.
The situations which Luc is thrust into are based around the similar experiences of her father’s stories from World War 2.
There he faced down the incoming Blitzkrieg of German tanks by lowering his AA gun and tracking them on tanks hurtling over France’s border.
Ruary said: “He was a lieutenant in the French army, in command of an anti-aircraft battery, of which there were very few in the French army, and he used his guns to fire not only at aircrafts, but also Rommel’s tanks.”
“Which was actually forbidden, you weren’t supposed to fire your guns horizontally.”
“So, some of the activities that Luc gets up to is based on what really happened to some of my relatives.”
Ultimately the story depicts the very real and very hard decisions forced upon the French people who had to decide between compromising with the Nazis or throwing their full weight behind the only standing power in the face of fascism.”
“You’ll find out that the hero actually makes his escape to London, as my father in law did.”
“And really everybody had to take decisions that were in fact life changing, they had to make choices which affected, probably, the entire rest of their lives.”