Spring 1916, and three great armies - French, British and, on the other side of the wire, German - are locked in a stalemate of mud and blood on Europe's Western Front.
On the ground, young British soldiers lose their innocence in the hell that is No Man's Land, while in the skies above the trenches a new breed of warrior, armed with a devastating new weapon, comes of age.
As the conflict stretches into its third year, a neutral but woefully unprepared and ill-equipped America is slowly goaded into war.
It falls to General John Pershing to galvanise his country's army into readiness and as the first American troops reach the front in 1917, the world waits to see if the tide of a war that has already cost millions of lives can at last be turned.
Combining an historian's eye for detail with a novelist's understanding of man's hopes and fears, Shaara carries the reader into the hearts and minds of some of the war's most memorable characters, from the heroic to the infamous, and vividly brings to life one of the greatest conflagrations in human history.