As a lad in the high country of eastern Victoria, Tag Wardell shows an extraordinary gift with animals: he is followed to school by his pets; his rapport with his horse becomes the talk of the district; and he even manages to befriend a mob of brumbies during an adventure with his schoolmates in the Dargo high plains. Later, when he becomes a blacksmith, locals come to watch him at work, amazed at his ability to calm the meanest of nags. But 1914 brings war, and the government's patriotic fervour entices Tag and his mates to join the Light Horse Brigade. For Tag, war begins as an adventure. On the convoy to Egypt, he is quickly singled out to help the distressed horses. Then, while on leave in Cairo, he meets Jill, a nurse, but their brief romance is cut short as Gallipoli looms. Tag's life spirals into one of survival in the day-to-day madness of the trenches. Barry Heard has produced a deeply moving, fiercely anti-war novel that blazes with authenticity.
Barry Heard was conscripted in Australia's first national service ballot, and served in Vietnam as an infantryman and radio operator. After completing his national service he returned home, where he found himself unable to settle down. He had ten different jobs in his first ten years back, worked as a teacher for a further ten years, and then held several mid-managerial posts before succumbing to a devastating breakdown due to severe post-traumatic stress disorder. Since recovering, Barry has decided to concentrate on his writing. His short stories have received several prizes, including the Sir Edmund Herring Memorial Award and the Sir Weary Dunlop Prize. Barry's other books include The View from Connor's Hill, a prequel to Well Done, Those Men; and Tag, a novel. He lives with his family in rural Victoria.