The thrilling, heartbreaking story of a young Afghan boy coming of age in a country at war.
When a convoy of armed men arrive in Aziz’s village one day, his world is shattered. In order for he and his brother to survive without parents, Aziz must join the Special Lashkar, a US-funded militia always hungry for Afghan recruits. Leaving his childhood behind, he departs for the untamed border where brutal training regimes morph into a conflict both savage and entirely contrived. Aziz struggles to understand his place; will he embrace the brutality of war or leave it behind, and risk placing his brother – and a young woman he comes to love – in jeopardy?
Elliot Ackerman served five tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq, and has written a gripping, morally complex debut novel, an astonishing feat of empathy and imagination about boys caught in a deadly conflict.
‘Harrowing, brutal, and utterly absorbing . . . Ackerman has spun a morally complex tale of revenge, loyalty, and brotherly love.’ – Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner
‘Haunting . . . Powerful . . . a bone-deep understanding of the toll that a seemingly endless war has taken on ordinary Afghans.’ – New York Times
‘Full of insight, compassion, and extraordinarily beautiful writing. I could not recommend this novel more highly.’ – Kevin Powers, author of The Yellow Birds