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Army of Worn Soles

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A Canadian is drafted into the Soviet Red Army in 1941, just in time to be thrown against Nazi Germany's invasion in Operation Barbarossa. Caught in the vise of the Nazi and Communist forces, Maurice Bury concentrates on keeping his men alive as they retreat across Ukraine from the German juggernaut. Now the question is: will they escape from the hell of the POW camp before they starve to death?

165 pages, Kindle Edition

First published June 22, 2014

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About the author

Scott Bury

31 books113 followers
Scott Bury can't stay in one category.

After a 20-year career in journalism, he turned to writing fiction. "Sam, the Strawb Part," a children's story, came out in 2011, with all the proceeds going to an autism charity. Next was a paranormal short story for grown-ups, "Dark Clouds."

The Bones of the Earth, a historical fantasy, came out in 2012. It was followed in 2013 with One Shade of Red, an erotic romance.

The Eastern Front trilogy tells the true story of Maurice Bury, a Canadian drafted into the USSR’s Red Army to face the German invasion of the Soviet Union. Army of Worn Soles, the first volume, was published in 2014, followed by Under the Nazi Heel in 2016 and Walking Out of War in 2017.

Scott Bury has been invited to contribute to three Kindle Worlds. For the Jet Kindle World, based on a character created by bestseller Russell Blake, he published Jet – Stealth: A Jet Kindle World Novella in July 2015.

The same week, he published Torn Roots: A Lei Crime Kindle World Novella featuring characters created by bestselling Hawaii crime author Toby Neal. He has since published three more Lei Crime Kindle World books: Palm Trees & Snowflakes (December 2015), Dead Man Lying (2016) and Echoes (2017).

Emily Kimelman, author of the Sydney Rye series, invited Scott to contribute to the Sydney Rye Kindle World. His answer was The Wife Line in 2016, and The Three-Way in 2017.

In between writing books and blog posts, Scott helped found an author's cooperative publishing venture, Independent Authors International. He is also President of author's professional association BestSelling Reads.

He lives in Ottawa with his two mighty sons, two pesky cats and a very understanding wife.

You can find more about Scott Bury, and contact him through his website, http://www.writtenword.ca, his blog, Written Words, and on Twitter @ScottTheWriter.

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5 stars
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32 (41%)
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12 (15%)
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Displaying 1 - 16 of 16 reviews
Profile Image for Jeff Swystun.
Author 25 books8 followers
July 16, 2017
What an interesting find. As a Ukrainian Canadian originally from Winnipeg and now living in Mont Tremblant, Quebec the story was relatable and relevant. A great friend of our family was a young conscript in the Soviet Army when Hitler invaded. He was shot, captured and ended up a HIWI. When the war ended he was processed and emigrated to Canada where he became a respected surgeon. At one Ukrainian business function I spoke at length with two gentlemen about the war. My father later told me they both served in the 14th SS. So having a young fellow from Montreal get swallowed up in Operation Barbarossa is not entirely fantastic.

Author Bury's fictionally enhanced story of his father-in-law's wartime experience is fascinating. Borders and loyalties shifted with frequency pre-war and during. Indeed that is Ukraine's history and sad legacy. My father was fond of saying, "Put two Ukrainians in a room and they will form three associations." He fought in the Canadian Navy and knew the Soviet Union was no good for Ukraine but equally knew Germany was not a saviour for the country though many greeted them as such.

Bury does an impressive job with research from macro to micro. He gets the political and nation confusions along with details down to uniforms and weaponry. The setting is apocalyptic and the atmosphere tense. I look forward to the next two instalment and Mr. Bury if you ever get to Tremblant the vodka is on me!
Profile Image for Randy Grossman.
467 reviews3 followers
February 11, 2018
I thought there was too much unneeded vulgarity...like the author was trying to get a R rating. The escape and horrible descriptions of war were a bit interesting to read, but if I could I would make it 2.5 rating. Not likely to pursue anymore of the series.
Profile Image for Elise Stokes.
Author 6 books1,242 followers
June 22, 2014
I had been offered the ARC of “Army Of Worn Soles”— a perfect title for this poignant true story— in exchange for an honest review, which I readily accepted after reading the summary. This novel is based on the real-life accounts of the author’s father-in-law, Maurice Bury, who had been drafted into the Soviet Army during World War II. Due to the relationship, I knew this would be a special and moving tribute. I wasn’t wrong.

This powerful story opens with Maurice, on the cusp of death, in a German POW camp rolling a glass bottle over his tattered uniform’s shirt, crushing lice. His energy is quickly sapped, and he slumps against the barrack’s wall, numb. A familiar face enters the courtyard: A German officer, who had been Maurice’s best friend, Bohdan. From this chance meeting, the story rolls back in time to when Maurice and Bohdan met at school and proceeds into Maurice’s draft into the "Red Army," which he’d thought he’d be immune to due to his Canadian citizenship.

What the reader follows Maurice into once he is deployed is horrific. Bury shows the atrocities of war vividly. It’s shocking how cruel humans can be. As POWs, Maurice and his captured men endure beatings, starvation, and overwork, until a miracle happens. As I write this, my mind wanders to the other POWs in that camp who didn’t have their miracle, just as it had done when I read the scenes. Bury does a great job of showing a sane life before war— hardworking university students, whose greatest concerns had been passing challenging classes. Little did they know, they’d soon be putting one another in their crosshairs on a battlefield.

Well done, Scott Bury. You have greatly honored your father-in-law by preserving his story, and have given the rest of us a glimpse into a piece of history that I deeply wish no one had experienced.
Profile Image for Marilou George.
186 reviews53 followers
May 14, 2015
Scott Bury has written “A memoir in novel form” that is, in my opinion, a tribute to his Father In-Law Maurice Bury. This story is written with emotion, unique characters and profound attention to detail. The Author has done a tremendous amount of research in order to convey the accuracy of events leading up to, and including, Maurice Bury’s life as a student and his subsequent orders to report for duty in the Soviet Red Army in 1941.

Maurice lived on a farm in Nastaciv, Ukraine with his mother and sister, but was a Canadian citizen whose father was still living in Montreal, Canada. During his time at the University he was very good friends with Bohdan, who he would later encounter while held in a prisoner of war camp. He became a Lieutenant and led his men into battle. The Author writes vividly about the cruelties of war and the daily struggles faced by the soldiers including disease, hunger, and the toll it takes on their bodies and minds. Their clothes and boots would literally crumble due to the unforgiving conditions they encountered.

The fact that this story is based on actual events, and written with overwhelming emotion and thoughtfulness, make it very engaging and enlightening. I was totally invested in this book and felt as if I knew Maurice personally. I appreciate the immense amount of research that was required and thought that it was presented in an effortless manner by Scott Bury.

I understand that this book is the first in a series, and I look forward to continuing Maurice’s journey. I highly recommend this book to all readers; it will keep you on totally engaged and educate you in the process.
Profile Image for JOY  LORTON.
8 reviews6 followers
August 5, 2015
A compelling story

Even though I know nothing about the major historical events that occurred to and around Maurice - nor can I pronounce most of the words in this book - I found this story to be one of the most heart-wrenching and compelling tales I have ever read. I was worried when I first started it that I'd find it difficult to wade through. , but I couldn't have been more wrong. It's amazing and a miracle to me that Maurice with his indomitable spirit managed to survive the atrocities with which he was faced at every turn. His courage has inspired me and I will think about him the next time I start to feel put upon by some minor obstacle in my path. Through his combination of true narrative and research, Scott Bury has woven together a book that I could not put down until I finished it. I appreciate that I've learned even a smidgen of the history contained in its pages. I completely agree with the author when he talks about the possibility of making this book (and I would presume the continuation of Maurice's story in the next one) nto a movie. Although because of its subject matter I would not usually be drawn to a movie depicting Maurice's struggles and his war story, because I am now familiar with Maurice, I'd be one of the first people in line to buy a ticket. I also think it would be a movie I'd have to see more than once because of its depth and richness. Thank you, Scott Bury, for bringing this book to fruition!
Profile Image for Kate's Reads.
74 reviews2 followers
June 20, 2014
“Army of Worn Soles”, by Scott Bury is a memoir written in a fictional style of Bury’s own father-in-law’s experience in the Russian army. Maurice Bury, a Canadian citizen, was living in the part of Ukraine controlled by Poland when Germany invaded in 1939. The USSR took control of the area that Maurice was living and in 1941 he was conscripted into the Russian army.

While Maurice was in the midst of his officer training Germany invaded in Operation Barbarossa. After nearly being killed getting off the train, he is put in charge of an anti-tank unit. As the Red Army is driven into retreat, Maurice’s main goal is to keep his 12 men alive. Eventually they are captured and become German POW’s. As they slowly starve to death that quest becomes even more urgent.

Bury has written a very engaging and compelling story. The insight into what life was like in that part of the Ukraine at the beginning of the war and when the war came knocking on the door was very interesting. The battle scenes were gritty and well-written. Maurice comes alive in the pages and I couldn’t help but care about him and his struggle.

An excellent read! I for one am looking forward to Book 2!
Profile Image for Dana Griffin.
Author 6 books18 followers
February 13, 2015
If you’re interested in historical accounts of World War II, you’ll enjoy this book. Written with a smooth prose that moves the story along you won’t be bored with unnecessary verbiage. You’ll also feel compassion for the narrator for having been caught up in a war his country of birth wasn’t fighting.

I liked how the story began with a scene that takes place later in the book that engages the reader with what will happen to the narrator. Then the next chapter the reader gets to see the narrator, a college student, struggling with his studies while supporting himself before he’s drafted into war. I eagerly read these earlier chapters so I could see how the events that are mentioned in the first chapter are unfolded.

Although a fictional account of the author’s father-in-law actual experiences, the story reads as a thriller. But knowing the experiences the narrator is shoved into are based on fact makes the reading all the more compelling.

I would have liked to have had a bit more emotional connection with the narrator but that desire didn’t prevent me from devouring this book.

I look forward to the continuation of this story in the book presently being written.
Profile Image for Samreen Ahsan.
Author 9 books164 followers
March 6, 2017
I had the pleasure of reading this novel prior to its release.

Army Of Worn Soles is the true story of Maurice Bury, a Canadian citizen caught up in the second world war when he is conscripted into the Ukrainian army. A page-turning journey of a war soldier as he takes his own decisions to save himself and his fellow soldiers. I'm not a reader of historical fiction (especially war ones) but this book gripped me right from the start. It is quite unbelievable that this is a true story, experienced by the true soldier. I've come to know that Maurice Bury is the writer's father-in-law and in this case I find Scott Bury very lucky to have someone reliving a past with him but all appreciation for Scott Bury to write someone's story into a very well narrated novel with his experienced hand. . The part that moved me in this book was when all of their boots were worn out and they had to wrap their feet in newspaper and still be able to fight for their country.

I'm not into reading war fictions but this is truly an exception.
Profile Image for M.L. Doyle.
Author 19 books27 followers
July 14, 2019
They say war is chaos, that despite the chaos, your training kicks in and you go into battle knowing that you have to trust the people to the left and right of you to make it through. What if you’ve only met those people a couple of days before? What if you have no idea what the objective is or even where you are?

Bury fills in some of the historic facts, attempting to make sense of the maneuvers made and the positions held, but the realities of an Army in retreat are methodical and merciless. Maurice and his troops trudge hundreds of miles, no vehicles or even horses to carry them. In their wake, the Army leaves behind empty farmhouses, empty silos and empty pens where every chicken, cow, pig or sheep is rounded up to feed the massive horde, devouring as they go.
Army of Worn Soles is a page-turner that provides insights into the world of the Red Army during WWII in ways I’ve not read before. Perhaps it’s because the story is told through the eyes of Maurice Bury, Canadian born and always hopeful that somehow his citizenship will save him. In many ways, it doesn’t.
Profile Image for Stephen Woodfin.
Author 19 books38 followers
June 19, 2014
My father fought in the Battle of the Bulge as an American foot soldier. In rare moments he would let his guard down for a few seconds and share with me a few of his recollections of that terrible time. So, I brought to Scott Bury's book a personal history of hearing first person accounts of the war. I loved the story of Maurice Bury and found in it many of the human details my father had related to me about another part of the war. I highly recommend the book, which provides an insight into what our forefathers endured in the battle for freedom. I received an advance review copy from the author, but purchased the book myself prior to submitting this review.
Profile Image for BJ.
426 reviews4 followers
November 16, 2018
I bought and read this book last year, and neglected to post a review. I've gone back over it, checked some notes I made at the time and I still think it's worthy of more than 5 stars! This is a story of Bury's uncle, drafted into the Red Army during WWII and the horrors they were subjected to, fighting in the Ukraine. You can hear the explosions from anti-tank shells, feel some of the hopelessness of a POW camp. Not just for a history buff; I'm surely not, but a well-told war story.
Profile Image for T.W. Dittmer.
Author 2 books30 followers
July 23, 2015
Great story of a Canadian citizen drafted into the Russian Army at the onset of World War II. Well written, with excellent character development and action scenes that have the ring of truth about them.
Profile Image for Anthony Bruno.
Author 22 books15 followers
May 8, 2019

I have read quite a few WWll books as seen through German or Russian eyes due to my fascination with the subject. This is one of the very best. A superb book by a superb author.
Anthony Vincent Bruno - author of The Wicked Will Perish series.
3 reviews
July 1, 2015
I liked it

I like reading about WW1 and WW2. I am not a good reader but I found this book easy to read. I found the content vary interesting.
Profile Image for Marie.
156 reviews1 follower
April 23, 2017
Great book. Will continue on with the rest of the series. Thank you to Scott Bury for the free book.
Profile Image for Chaplain Stanley Chapin.
1,847 reviews17 followers
October 19, 2018
A truly amazing story

As a vivid reader on activities of various countries prior to the start of World War Two, this is one excellent story.
Displaying 1 - 16 of 16 reviews

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