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 - Tempering the Blade

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By 1917, the Canadians have been honed to a sharp edge, but a brittle blade can break.

In Russia, Matron Samantha Lonsdale finds herself in the middle of the Bolshevik revolution. She and her patients at the Anglo- Russian Hospital in Petrograd are caught in the crossfire as they dodge machine gun fire. When Russia is knocked out of the war, the hard choice is to leave her patients behind when she is evacuated to England.

In France, infantry officer Lieutenant-Colonel Llewellyn and artillery officer Lieutenant Ryan need to harden their resolve. The Canadian Corps is ordered to capture the formidable Vimy Ridge. The French and the English have tried before, with devastating casualties. Now, it’s the Canadian Corps’ turn.

In Canada, the 50th anniversary of Confederation is tempered by the Corps’ horrendous losses. More is to come at Passchendaele. With more men needed at the sharp end, Prime Minister Borden calls for conscription in the middle of a vicious election campaign that threatens to tear the country apart.

As the year comes to a close, the heat of battle has hardened and tempered the Canadians into a flexible steel blade.