Drink to Yesterday

Coles, Manning. Drink to Yesterday. Boulder: Rue Lyons Press, 1940.

Drink to Yesterday is based on the life of Cyril Henry Coles. Like his character, Michael Kingston (given name)/William Saunders (alias when he signed up in the military)/Dirk Brandt (spy name), Coles lied about his age and enlisted at 16 in the British army during World War I. His actions remind me a lot of my father. He too, left home and joined the service at 16.
William Saunders proves to be invaluable to the Foreign Intelligence Office when his fluency in conversational German is discovered. He goes on to have some harrowing and exciting experiences with his mentor, Tommy Hambledon. As Dirk Brandt, Saunders spends so much time behind enemy lines that he develops an entirely dual life for himself. After the war is over he has a hard time separating the two. His relationship with two separate women is heartbreaking. The end of Drink to Yesterday leaves the door open for its sequel, Toast to Tomorrow.

Reason read: Germany plays a big part in this story & October is Oktoberfest.

Quote that caught my eye, “Bill soon acquired the knack of moving quietly since it is wonderful how quickly you can learn when your life depends on it” (p 43).

Author fact: Cyril Coles was the youngest member of the Foreign Intelligence Office.

Book trivia: Drink to Yesterday opens with a list of cast of characters, much like a script for a play.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “Intriguing Novels” (p 124).

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