In the months between May and August 1945 the world is both winding down and changing forever. The European war over, Britain looks to the future and prepares for a general election. Unknown to all but a few, life is about to be pitched into the atomic age.
Unconditional Surrender charts these changes through two voices, the rector of a rural parish in north Wales, and a mysterious German countess housed under his care as a displaced person. At the centre of their attention is Meg, the rector’s daughter, and her increasingly fraught relationships with a conscientious objector and a young prisoner-of-war held nearby. The results of these relationships are as momentous, in their way, as the bombing of Hiroshima.
Unconditional Surrender sets young against old, local against international, and follows the changing social mores of a unique period in history. Fascinating in its characterisation and scope, beautifully executed, this is Emyr Humphreys at his best.