A harrowing account of a 10-year-old boy trying to reunite his family in war-torn Europe. The sub-plot of a German army deserter and family adds a more adult dimension, touching on the fundamental evils of the Nazi regime. The whole is a powerful evocation of the desolation and destruction of the countryside. A good starting place for any reader wanting to understand the effects of war on families.
The farmyard is full of dead bodies piled together in untidy lines. Jan doesn't know how many have been shot. After he saw his father brought out he stopped counting. His mind is frozen at that scene, as if he has a photograph in his head. Over and over he sees his father standing beside the other men. He said nothing, didn't flinch when the soldiers raised their rifles, but the impact of the bullets made his body twitch like a puppet as it folded to the ground.