The Canadian Expeditionary Force Novels

Forging the Weapon cover 1914
Hammering the Blade cover 1915
Sharpening the Blade cover 1916
Tempering the Blade cover 1917


Frank Rockland

The plot - Hammering the Blade

The Canadians are being hammered on two fronts.

On the home front, Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden’s government is being rocked by scandals. First it was the soldiers’ bad boots, then charges of graft and corruption in the militia department’s contracts, followed by the shell crisis. With an election in the air and the opposition pounding his minister of Militia and Defence, Major-General Sam Hughes, Borden is fighting desperately to save his government.

On the western front, after six months of constant harsh training, the CEF finally enter the trenches in France. Infantry Captain Llewelyn struggles to keep his men alive as snipers take their toll, and the Ross rifle fails its first combat test. Nothing prepares him for the chlorine gas attack at Ypres. A frustrated Gunner Paul Ryan watches helplessly as his comrades-in-arms suffer. He can’t help, since artillery shells are in short supply. As the battles rage, nursing sister Samantha Lonsdale is nearly overwhelmed as she cares for the sick, the wounded, and the dying.

As the hammer blows fall, the blade is being tempered into cold steel.