This is one of the best books I've ever read. So brilliant, in fact, I find it hard to describe why I LOVE it so much! The author evokes the emotions of his characters with unique brilliance, using a stream of conscious style of writing to describe inner dialogue, so that we feel exactly what each character feels, especially at moments of great stress. Not only this, but the characters themselves are infinitely well-drawn and their actions believable, totally sympathetic and consistent throughout. The descriptions of what it was like to serve in the First World War are also vivid and again (I think) unique in that they describe not just the horror but also the constant organisational effort involved in moving troops about, and sometimes just the sheer boredom of it all.
Finally, the descriptions of the English countryside - a vanishing landscape in the early 20th century - are just perfect. The scene where Christopher Tietjens (the hero) and Valentine Wannop fall in love whilst riding a horse and cart all night through thick fog was so real for me I wished I could actually be in it.
I wish I could write like Ford Madox Ford. That's all I can say.