MacIver, military historian and one-time centre for Scotland's rugby team, has holed up in his holiday home after his wife's death. He makes rules to keep himself going as he and his house crumble away - what he must burn, when he should eat, how to write something every day . . . As he becomes involved in his story about soldiers in the trenches of the Great War he begins to reflect on his own experiences in WWII and the loss of his son in Vietnam, and attempts to make sense of his life and the turbulent era through which he has lived.
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