A Stevenage man has published a book to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War, which follows the lives of soldiers from England, France and Germany in the lead up to the Christmas truce.

Kier Home has spent the last two years researching and writing about the topic, with The Long, Long Trail the result of his efforts.

The novel follows the lives of Yorkshireman Jim Brown, Frenchman Remy Arceneaux and Stefan Ehrlichmann, who is forced to leave his home in England prior to the war and return to his native Germany.

It documents how the trio became involved in the war, leading up to the moment in December 1914 when their paths cross.

The 29-year-old, who works as a box office assistant at Stevenage’s Gordon Craig Theatre, said: “For as long as I can remember, I have been aware of the story of a temporary truce between the allies and the Germans on Christmas during the First World War. I was always touched by the concept that, for a short while, men stopped killing each other and enjoyed a day’s peace. I researched deeper into it and discovered that it extended beyond just enjoying peace over Christmas – men exchanged gifts, souvenirs and keepsakes to try and find some normality in their first Christmas away from home. Hated enemies buried their dead next to each other and held joint services as if they hadn’t been shooting at each other only days before.

“I know that in the book I’m being somewhat romantic about the Christmas truce. It didn’t happen all the way across the Western Front, and of course, it wouldn’t have been a completely relaxed affair. But the biggest point for me is that small pockets of men put that all aside long enough to interact and make an unbearable situation more pleasant for each other.

“It was that aspect of men looking beyond their orders and their understanding of being enemies and coming to respect each other as fellow men that I wanted to explore.

“In all my searches, I found a few attempts to make the Christmas truce better known. With this lack of coverage for the truce in the public eye, I decided the best way for me to tell the tale was to sit down and write it for myself.”

Following conversations with publishers earlier this year, Kier made a decision to self-publish The Long, Long Trail so it could go on sale on August 4 – exactly 100 years after Britain entered the First World War.

The book, priced at £10.99 for paperback and £4.99 for Kindle, is available via www.amazon.co.uk.

For more, visit www.thelonglongtrailnovelblog.wordpress.com.