is a book for young adults, ages 12 and up, that's unlikely to be used as the basis for an episode of a television "After School Special." AK
is about a boy with his own gun, raised by a guerrilla group during a civil war. "My mother was the war," protagonist Paul Kagomi says. "She was a witch, a terrible demon, an eater of people, but she looked after me. It's not my fault that I loved her." Paul, of the mythical African nation of Nagala, is one of a group of homeless boys trained in warfare by the National Liberation Army. As the civil war subsides, Paul faces a life with no skills except the ones he learned for battle. AK
won a Whitbread Prize
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Paul, 12, remembers no other life than his nomadic existence as a Warrior--a junior member of a guerilla band fighting a civil war against the corrupt government of Nagala, a fictional African nation. When peace is declared, Paul's mentor, Michael, assumes an important role in the newly formed coalition government, rebuilding the country he loves. Paul--now Michael's adopted son--is sent to school in the north of the country. When the elected government is overthrown in a coup, Michael is put in prison and Paul, his life in danger, flees from the north. Accompanied by two other children, he journeys to the nation's capitol, determined to free his adoptive father. This exceedingly ambitious novel succeeds at everything it attempts: on the same high level as Lloyd Alexander's Westmark trilogy, it is a thorough examination of the nature of both democracy and war; it explores the legacy of imperialism; and it provides the reader with an exceptionally vivid picture of an African country and a handful of memorable citizens. Like all nations, Nagala is possessed of a complicated and specific political history; Dickinson manages to set forth its intricacies without becoming pedantic or talking down to his audience. The narrative has the rare sort of assurance that allows a varied array of vibrant characters to be created with a minimum of fuss. But best of all, AK is a simply rip-roaring adventure story. The exhilarating combination of spine-tingling storytelling and complicated ideas is an uncommon treat for sophisticated readers. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.