Synopses & Reviews
It's winter 1944 and the Second World War is entering its most crucial state. A few months ago fourteen-year-old Ali Banana was a blacksmith's apprentice in his rural hometown in West Africa; now he's trekking through the Burmese jungle. Led by the unforgettably charismatic Sergeant Damisa, the unit has been given orders to go behind enemy lines and wreak havoc. But Japanese snipers lurk behind every tree—and even if the unit manages to escape, infection and disease lie in wait. Homesick and weary, the men of D-Section Thunder Brigade refuse to give up.
Taut and immediate, The King's Rifle is the first novel to depict the experiences of black African soldiers in the Second World War. This is a story of real life battles, of the men who made the legend of the Chindits, the unconventional, quick-strike division of the British Army in India. Brilliantly executed, this vividly realized account details the madness, sacrifice, and dark humor of that war's most vicious battleground. It is also the moving story of a boy trying to live long enough to become a man.
In The Kings Rifle, Biyi Bandele-Thomas redresses a historical absence with characters and a story that are poignant, warm, heartbreaking and triumphant. A wonderful novel, part war story, part coming of age narrative, and all heart. Chris Abani, author of Graceland, Song for Night and The Virgin of Flames
“A sophisticated, evocative, and haunting coming-of-age story.” School Library Journal
“A funny, eye-opening and moving read.” Essence
Part history lesson, part coming-of-age tale, and filled with the dark comedy of war. New York Post
“A revelation of unsung heroism distinguished by love of language and lightness of touch.” Kirkus Reviews
“Refreshing and even endearing. . .” Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Biyi Bandele is an award-winning novelist, playwright, and director. He was born in Nigeria and is the son of a veteran of the Burma campaign. The Independent named him one of Africa's fifty greatest artists. He lives in London.