An extraordinary wartime memoir, combining the best kind of adventure story with a coming of age testimony of unforgettable resonance and poignancy. September 2011, Halkidiki, Northern Greece. A solitary 86 year-old man gazes across an Aegean headland, knowing that he must finally confront his past. He begins to write...September 1939, Nieppe, Northern France. 14 year-old Stephen is living with his family, 25 kilometres from Ypres. His French mother battles with her encroaching blindness. Failing to escape the advancing German army, his English father can no longer look after the war graves that cast so heartbreaking a shadow across the region. Stephen and his friend Marcel embark upon their great adventure: collecting souvenirs from strafed convoys and crashed Messerschmitts. But their world turns dark when arrested and imprisoned for sabotage and threatened with deportation or the firing squad. Upon his release, and still only 16, Stephen is recruited by the French Resistance. Growing up under the threat of imminent betrayal, he learns the arts of clandestine warfare, and - in a moment that haunts him still - how to kill...Such was the impact of Stephen Grady's work for the French Resistance, (especially during the countdown to D-Day and its bloody aftermath) that he was awarded the Croix de Guerre and the American Medal of Freedom.
Stephen Grady OBE was born in Northern France in 1925, the son of an English father who was a head gardener in the Imperial War Graves Commission. In 1941 he joined the French Resistance, carrying out missions for which he was awarded the French Croix de Guerre with Silver Star, the American Medal of Freedom, and a British mention in Dispatches. After the liberation of France, he joined the British Army and served as a Lieutenant with the Intelligence Corps, before returning to a long career in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, for which he eventually became director of the France area. He now lives alone in Greece. Michael Wright, who worked with Stephen Grady on Gardens of Stone, is an English writer based in rural France. He has published two bestselling books about his life-changing experiences there: C'est la Folie and Je t'aime ? La Folie.