In the swirling, leprous muck of the now ''peaceful'' but still unquiet Western Front, Marden, a stolid widower judge from British Columbia, Canada, searches out the spot where his boy Billy died in some fruitless skirmish shortly before the 1918 armistice. What he finds is a battlefield that refuses to heal, poison gas seeping eagerly from subterranean dormancy, and poisoned pilgrims fanning out across the bloody fields, seeking sons and lovers composted by an insensate, arbitrary, and irresistible war machine. W.D. Wetherell, a formidable artist in the tradition of the great war poets, gently increases the poundage of pressure on your heart as well as the suspense until you, like Marden, are brought to the very extremities of love, hope, and despair, beyond the iron bounds of society. A Century of November is gripping, damning, and transfixing.