Writing at the top of her form, Pat Barker’s newest book about World War I is, I think, her best work since Regeneration. Like the latter work, real historical characters are interwoven with fictional ones, in this case, Henry Tonks, an artist and teacher who both taught at the Slade and documented the facially wounded returned soldiers. Two of the main characters share a last name with fallen poet Rupert Brooke. Featuring many of the same characters as in her previous Life Class, this is an altogether better book which in 300 short pages raises haunting questions about love and war. 302 pp.