November 12, 2014
The horror of war
by Sharon E. McKay
Jacob is the son of a wealthy landowner. Oteka is a night commuter - one of the many children from villages or displacement camps who sleep on the streets of Gulu, where Jacob lives. They fear the Lord's Resistance Army (the LRA) who kidnap children and turn them into soldiers. Jacob believes he will be safe at school because of the extra guards. But the very first night back, the LRA invade the dorms and take Jacob and his classmates away. Beaten, starved, and forced to walk unendingly through the jungle, Jacob fears for his life and those of his friends, especially Tony, who wanted to be a priest. It is Tony who is broken and forced to kill. As the weeks pass, Jacob realizes that no one is coming to rescue them. With this knowledge, he and his friends, along with Oteka and a young girl named Hannah, plan an escape.
A gripping, disturbing book that focuses on the continuing plight of child soldiers. Its depiction of violence and brutality is unflinching, destroying any fanciful beliefs that war is exciting. An important book that deserves a wide audience.
War Brothers is also available as a graphic novel, with images that convey the horror with searing immediacy. Unforgettable.