The Village

front cover for The Village

A Cretan village confronts the Nazi juggernaut sweeping across Europe.

A village matriarch tries to hold her family together…Her grieving son finds a new life in the Cretan Resistance…A naive English soldier unwillingly finds the warrior in himself…And a fanatical German paratrooper is forced to question everything he thought he believed in.

The lives of four ordinary people are irrevocably entwined and their destinies changed forever as each of them confronts the horrors of war and its echoes down the decades.

This lovely video was produced by Emma Gray of Freshly Press

Here is a short video of me reading the first few pages of The Village. My thanks to Richie Fletcher, owner of Solo Arts, LLC Coaching and Creative Media Services.

Some endorsements for The Village:

Shaila Van Sickle, Emeritus Professor and author of Seven Characters in Search of an Author 
The Village is a character-driven novel and a thoroughly good read from beginning to end. Philip Duke’s four main characters are distinct, well drawn, believable, and sympathetic. Duke delays many details describing Anastasia, Yianni, Paul, and Dieter until they’re pertinent to the plot, making me feel as if I am coming to know them as they come to know themselves. What happens to Yianni and Anastasia because of the war fought in Crete provides a wonderful contrast to what happens to Paul and Dieter when they mature into soldiers sent to the island. Before they finally appear together in the central village of the book’s title, Duke has hauntingly reminded us of the essential, personal tragedies wrought by war.
Paul Bahn, archaeologist and author of The Archaeology of Hollywood 
As a writer of non-fiction, I am deeply envious of those with the imagination and talent to produce first-class fiction, and The Village certainly falls into that category. Not only does it deal with an aspect of the last war with which I was entirely unfamiliar, but its characters and story are so compelling that I read it almost at one sitting. The author’s familiarity with the locations and the facts behind the story give the book that vital extra ingredient which raises it to the level of a truly great read.
Murray Morison, author of Time Sphere and Time Knot
The scars of the Second World War are not deeply hidden or fully healed on the island of Crete. Philip Duke, in his terrific evocation of the battle for Crete and its aftermath, does a masterful job of showing why. The Village of the title stands for many villages, where the German invasion was met with little more than aged hunting rifles and kitchen knives. Cretans, invaded serially over the centuries and most recently by the Ottoman empire, fought back bravely against the Germans and were met with terrible reprisals.

We see this story told through the eyes of a British soldier stranded in Crete, a German member of the Hitler Youth, whose ideals become tested by the realities of brutality, and the ordinary folk in a Cretan village living through extraordinary times.

Duke evokes the gaunt splendour of Crete and the raw courage of those who defended its liberty and were never completely subdued. It is a moving story, well told, and we see it from multiple perspectives, reminding us that in the end there are no winners in war time. This is a great example of how to learn history, through a well-told tale resting on excellent research.

You can find more reviews on, and Goodreads ( I’m really proud of them.

Here are some pre-publication reviews for The Village.

Janet Pole | NetGalley 
Having spent some major time in Crete, I was so happy to get this book to review as I did so many tours of WWII graveyards and other sites. The book was expertly researched and written and I was sucked in from page one to the last as I knew that I had to see what happened to these people and their lives in a place that I live in for a rather long while. It’s a quick read at only 264 pages long: it was one of those books where you wanted more, more more!!!

If you are a fan of wartime novels or novels full of history, this is a great book for you: I can see my historical book club devouring this after I put it on their May 2019 TBR&R (To Be Read and Reviewed) list. I know that they will love it as much as I did and YOU WILL AS WELL!!

Marilyn Rhea  NetGalley 
An excellent and we’ll written book about WWII. This takes place on the island of Crete.
I have read extensively about Europe in WWII, but this is the first novel set in Crete. The characters are well developed and you find yourself quickly turning the pages to find out what occurs next.
Jeanette Styles | NetGalley
Historical fiction is one of my all time favourite genres and was so pleased to have received an advanced copy of ‘The Village’ via Netgalley and the Publishers. I was engrossed in this story from start to finish. Well written. I have never been to Crete, but do hope to do so in the near future. I shall remember this story when i do! A story that i do recommend, especially if you enjoy wartime novels.
Teresa Grabs | NetGalley
Duke’s story is an amazing tale of WWII Crete. The story spanned nearly fifty years as it told the story that connected Yianni and Dieter in ways they never wanted. Life in the little village was filled with love, song, and life until the war brought death, suffering, and loss. Duke’s story grips you on page one and doesn’t let up until the closing act. Perfect for anyone interested in social history and life during WWII.
Paul Lane | NetGalley
The contention of all anti war books is that use of military force is the most horrible way to solve any problem and “The Village” is no exception. It is a fast read and interesting enough to pull the reader into wanting to finish it without pause. The description of the actual places where the action took place is a nice extra which allows the reader to examine a topographical map of Crete and quickly grasp what problems were faced by each of the participants during the invasion. Good use of fiction to present a factual event to readers not aware of what happened there during a tumultuous period in history.
Emily Sheppard | NetGalley 
I enjoy reading about WW2 and this came from a different area of the world than the usual. I really felt for the characters, which led to me being in tears in places! It is hard to comprehend how people can be so cruel to each other. I admired the Cretans strength and wondered if i would have been so brave in such a dangerous situation. This was a page turner.I would highly recommend this book to enable people to see how the island of Crete suffered during WW2.
Jamie Bass | NetGalley 
The Village is a story of WWII. The setting is Crete. I haven’t read anything about Crete before. It’s a story of brave people in a terrible situation. They are survivors. It’s a good read that unfolds at a good pace. You will want to keep reading until the end.
Shreedevi Gurumurty | NetGalley
This novel was an emotionally riveting tale about a long forgotten aspect of World War Two. My favourite quotes from the books were: “Whoever fights a monster should see to it that he does not become one.” And “There is surely a clear line between what is good and what is evil, but either we are too willfully stupid to see it or, because of self-delusion or moral weakness, we allow that line to be smudged beyond recognition. Only after we have crossed that line and looked back can we realise its existence, and know that we have transgressed it with no hope of ever redeeming ourselves.” Overall, this was a sad, but wonderfully written novel that sheds light on the forgotten Battle of Crete in the Second World War. Thank you NetGalley for providing me an advanced reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Dee Garcia | NetGalley 
The story of the invasion of Crete during WW2 from the perspective of the islanders and soldiers from both sides depicts the suffering and brutality of the war. The book was based on real events which took place on the island which today is such a popular holiday destination. A very human and tragic tale and a must read for those interested in the events of the period.
Anthony Philo | NetGalley 
This book is about the island of Crete during World War 2. Characters are well developed and I enjoyed plot. It’s a fast paced book.
Malia Zaidi | NetGalley 
What a thoughtful, engaging story! It was very insightful and well written. I will keep this author in mind for the future!

Keith Currie GoodReads 
The author presents a simply told story involving three soldiers in the wartime Battle of Crete, a working class English Tommy, a fiercely Nazi German paratrooper and a Cretan partisan. Allied incompetence, individual courage, the suffering of innocents, the qualms of conscience all figure in the tale. The style is clear and without artifice, but the story is quite powerful and takes a number of unexpected turns, culminating in a present day act of revenge, as pointless as the deaths and violence of the war years

Publication Date

March 2019


ISBN: 978-1-78535-910-1

$18.95  |  £11.99

8.5×5.5 inches | 216×140 mm



ISBN: 978-1-78535-911-8

$7.99  |  £4.99

Library of Congress


Published by Top Hat Books, an imprint of John Hunt Publishing

This novel is available at bookstores, Amazon, or directly from