The Passing Tribute by Simon Marshall – Book Review



In the tumultuous aftermath of the First World War the Wilson brothers head in opposite directions: Richard, interned in Austria throughout the conflict, returns to England; Edward, a junior officer, is dispatched from Italy to Vienna as part of the British Army s relief mission.

For Edward, it will be a return to the city and to love. But it will not be the same city: Vienna is no longer the administrative heart of an Empire, merely a provincial capital ravaged by starvation, and paralysed by the winter snows. Will it be the same love?

In London, Richard is employed in the ministerial heart of government, and soon dazzled by the Under Secretary s vision for a new, federal Europe. But for the new to exist the old must be replaced; and the Habsburg Emperor, on his estate near the Czech border, revolution all around, refuses to go. One man is sent to make sure that he does.

With the brothers estranged by distance and time, their lives become unknowingly entwined in a shadowy plot and it seems the end of the war is only the beginning of their struggle.



Before you start reading this, I would get settled in a comfy chair and be prepared for a slow, thoughtful and unique read….it reminded me of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo….in that is seems experimental in its language and plot and more about the feeling and emotions it raises.

It’s a beautifully written tale of two brothers, and their lives after the war, the rebuilding of lives and society and politics… it’s beautifully poetic at times and there is a little humour too.

It uses the language of the early 20th century at the time of WW1, so can take a little getting used to..

I feel this is the kind of book to linger over and enjoy the language, it will be perfect for book clubs everywhere as there is so much to discuss.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook  in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.




This is Simon’s second novel. In 2015 he self-published The Long Drawn Aisle, then immediately started work researching and writing The Passing Tribute.
A political historian at heart, Simon read modern history at UCL before gaining an MA distinction in Imperial and Commonwealth History at King’s College London. It was during these studies that his profound and ongoing fascination with the pre and post WW1 European settlement was stirred, and it has inspired both of his novels to date.

Simon was born and raised in London, but has lived and worked for most of the past decade in France. With youthful pretensions to screenwriting and poetry, prose has taken over and he has worked variously as a private tutor, English language teacher, assistant bar manager, gig economy dromedary, and Real Tennis professional. As The Long Drawn Aisle took him over ten years to write (and rewrite, and rewrite), he has therefore had plenty of time to immerse himself in all of these glorious postings. And long – says the man in short trousers – may it continue!

Twitter @LongDrawnAisle


Paperback: 288 pages
• Publisher: Unbound Digital (7 Mar. 2019)
• Language: English
• ISBN-10: 178965016X
• ISBN-13: 978-1789650167



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