October 1918. The war on the Western Front is all butover for most soldiers - except the ambitious Lieutenant Henri d'AulnayPradelle. Desperate for one last chance of promotion, Pradelle sends two scoutsover the top, and secretly shoots them in the back to incite his men to heroicaction once more.When Albert Maillard realises how the two soldiersmust have died, Pradelle is ready to go to any lengths to silence him. Pushedinto a shell hole and buried alive, Albert is left to face a horrific death -or he is until another soldier, Édouard Péricourt digs him out in the nick oftime, loosing half his face to a piece of flying shrapnel for his troubles.So the fates and fortunes of this unlikely pair arebound together. Back in civilian life, both struggle to adjust to a society whosereverence for its dead cannot quite match its resentment for those whosurvived. But Albert and Édouard conspire to enact an audaciousform of revenge against the country that abandoned them - first to the trenchesand then to penury and despair - with a scheme to swindle the whole of Franceon an epic scale.Meanwhile, believing her brother killed in action,Édouard's sister Madeleine has married Henri d'Aulnay Pradelle, who is runninga little scam of his own...
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