Iain Maclean's Cogadh Ruairidh (Ruairidh's War) is an account of the first day of the Battle of the Somme through the eyes and the experience of a Highland soldier, Ruairidh, and his two friends. MacLean first describes the waiting period, when the soldiers' emotions swing between tedium and high tension, fear and naive overconfidence, and then, clearly and dispassionately, what the three men encounter as they go over the top and advance towards the enemy trenches - and the waiting machine guns. The novel follows Ruairidh through his convalescence in France and his journey home, where he struggles to come to terms with what has happened on that awful day. Cogadh Ruairidh is a powerful evocation of one of the grimmest days in the history of modern warfare. As an indictment of the brutality and futility of war, it is all the more effective for the fact that MacLean lets the events speak for themselves. With chapter-by-chapter glossaries and summaries to assist Gaelic learners, this is a most impressive debut novel from yet another talented young Gaelic author.