'It's the end of the 1916 winter and the conditions are almost unbelievable. We live in a world of Somme mud. We sleep in it, work in it, fight in it, wade in it and many of us die in it. We see it, feel it, eat it and curse it, but we can't escape it, not even by dying...'Edward Lynch enlisted when he was just 18 - one of thousands of fresh-faced men who were proudly waved off by the crowds as they embarked for France. It was 1916 and the majority had no idea of the reality of the Somme trenches, of the traumatised soldiers they would encounter there, of the innumerable, awful contradictions of war. Private Lynch was one of those who survived, and on his return home, wrote Somme Mud in pencil in over 20 school exercise books, perhaps in the hope of coming to terms with all that he had witnessed there? Written from the perspective of an ordinary 'Tommy' and told with dignity, candour and surprising wit, Somme Mud is a testament to the human spirit: for out of the mud that threatened to suck out a man's soul rises a compelling story of humanity and friendship. For all who are marking the centenary of the Great War, it is a rare and precious find.