Blog Tour! Scott Bury’s “Army of Worn Soles”
The Army of Worn Soles launch blog tour continues! Read to the end for the clue that will help you win the Grand Prize of a signed paperback copy of Army of Worn Soles plus a $50 Amazon gift card!
For a chance to enter the early-bird draw, enter the clue in the Comments section.
To see where the blog tour stops next, and to find the next clue, visit the author’s blog, Written Words.
Chapter 2: Gymnasium
Peremyshl, Poland, 1937
Maurice sat on the front steps and opened his chemistry textbook on his lap. He scratched his jaw, looked across the street, down at his feet and up again, unconsciously drumming his fingers on the concrete steps.
Concentrate, he reminded himself. He focused on the page and willed himself to learn the words and concepts. His left foot tap-tapped on the step. His mouth felt dry, but he resisted the urge to get a drink of water.
“You want a cigarette?”
Maurice looked up at a thin man his own age, with light brown hair and hazel eyes. He held a pack of cigarettes toward Maurice. “You look like you need one.”
Maurice drew one from the pack. “Thanks,” he said, and dug matches out of his pocket.
The young man shook a cigarette loose for himself and let Maurice light it, then sat on the step beside him. “I’m Bohdan.” He held out his hand.
“I’m Maurice. Where are you from?”
“Here. Peremyshl. You?”
“Nastaciv. A little village near Ternopyl.”
“You nervous about Brother Michael’s chemistry class? I don’t blame you. The Brother is a tough bastard.”
“Chemistry is not my strongest subject. Neither is math. I’m better with languages.”
“Is that so? I’m the opposite. I can’t keep Latin tenses straight. What languages do you speak?”
“Polish, Russian, English. A little German, and I hope to learn more German here.”
“And Ukrainian, of course,” Bohdan said, smiling.
Maurice laughed. He took a final drag on the cigarette and then took a package of biscuits from his canvas school bag. “Here, these just arrived from my mother in the mail. She must have sent them the same day I got on the train to come here.”
Bohdan squashed his cigarette under his shoe, smiled again and took a biscuit. “These are very good.”
“Yes. I could live on these biscuits.” Maurice popped one into his mouth.
“Where did you learn English?” Bohdan asked.
“I was born in Montreal.”
“Canada?” Bohdan whistled. “Interesting. Usually people emigrate the other way, from Europe to America.”
“My parents did, of course. My father has a business in Montreal, washing windows in big buildings. But with the Depression, business is slow, so my mother decided to return to the farm until my father can build up the business again. He’s been to visit us a few times.”
“So you’re back in Poland. Think it was the right choice?”
Maurice shrugged. “I guess so. We always have enough to eat. The farm does all right. It’s a lot of work, but…”
Bohdan leaned closer and spoke softly to be certain no one else could overhear. “But in Canada, you were free.”
Maurice spoke low, too. “And here, we’re not even allowed to speak our own language.”
About the book:
1941: Their retreat across Ukraine wore their boots out—and they kept going.
Three months after drafting him, the Soviet Red Army throws Maurice Bury, along with millions of other under-trained men, against the juggernaut of Nazi Germany’s Operation Barbarossa, the assault on the USSR.
Army of Worn Soles tells the true story of a Canadian who had to find in himself a way to keep himself alive—and the men who followed him.
Scott Bury is a journalist, editor and novelist based in Ottawa, Canada. He has written for magazines in Canada, the US, the UK and Australia.
a children’s short story, Sam, the Strawb Part (proceeds of which are donated to an autism charity), and other stories.
Scott Bury lives in Ottawa with his lovely, supportive and long-suffering wife, two mighty sons and two pesky cats.
Today’s clue: fall