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A K Hardcover – May 1, 1992


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 229 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (May 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385306083
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385306089
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,376,924 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

AK 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 in 1990. --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.

More About the Author

Peter Dickinson was born in Africa, but raised and educated in England. From 1952 to 1969 he was on the editorial staff of the British satirical magazine, Punch, and since then has earned his living writing fiction of various kinds for adults and children.

Amongst many other awards, Peter Dickinson has been nine times short-listed for the prestigious British Carnegie medal for children's literature and was the first author to win it twice. He has won the Phoenix Award twice for "The Seventh Raven" and "Eva". He won the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for "Chance, Luck and Destiny". "Eva" and "A Bone from A Dry Sea" were ALA Notable Books and SLJ Best Books of the Year. "The Ropemaker" was awarded the Mythopoeic Award for Children's Literature and was a Michael L. Printz Honor Book. Peter's books for children have also been published in many languages throughout the world. His latest collection of short stories, "Earth and Air", was published in October and his latest novel, "In the Palace of the Khans" was published in November.

Peter Dickinson was the first author to win the British Crime-Writers Golden Dagger for two books running: Skin Deep (1968), and A Pride of Heroes (1969). He He has written twenty-one crime and mystery novels, which have been published in several languages.

He has been chairman of the UK Society of Authors and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He was awarded an O.B.E. for services to literature in 2009.

Website: www.peterdickinson.com

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 6, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
AK is truly a book worth reading; it has action, adventure, drama, and friendship in it. With never-ending suspense around the corner, its hard to stop reading this book until you've finished it! With historical fiction embedded in the pages, you'll find it hard to believe that this is history!

AK happens to center on a boy of 12 named Paul Kagomi. He is an orphen in the civil war of Nagala, where the NLA (Nagala Liberation Army) fostered and cared for him. Paul was schooled in violence, and has put his trust onto his little AK to protect him. With an overseer named Michael Kagomi, Paul and his fellow Warriors help liberate Nagala piece by piece. Then it happened. Just as easily as the war had begun, it ended. Now Paul can have a real family with his foster father: Michael. But in the midst of the delicate peace, Michael is kidnapped and taken to a concentration camp. Now Paul must free his father and destroy the corrupt African Government."My mother with the war.She was a witch, a terrible demon, eater of people, but she looked after me. It's not my fault that I loved her."-Paul Kagomi
I kind of liked this story because of its adventure and the cover art, which I thought was cool (and a tad bit funny), but I really like the main character. It sort of reminded me of myself. In a way, Paul and I are alike because we both want to prove to others that we aren't just children. We are the future, the next generation. Anyways, AK is always a thriller, a book that gets you on the edge of your seat then makes you want to come back for more.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 5, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Dickinson's novel of coming of age in the midst of civil war is far more than an adventure novel for teenagers. This is a very sensitive appraisal of the emotional costs of conflict that are all too real a part of growing up in many parts of the world.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By wnylibrarian on August 4, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
What is unique about this novel is the portrayal of life on the African continent in one of these unstable countries. Governments that are here today are gone tomorrow, and adults reading this book will find it educational more so than Young Adults because of this element. However, it is an excellent tale for Young Adults in terms of action and adventure for it places a young boy into very adult minded situations. Books that force their adolescent main characters into adult situations are always popular, and this one is no different. It is not surprising that this novel won an award. It conjures up images for the reader of Lord of the Flies, and other similar novels. It is an excellent addition to any YA section.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kate B. on May 5, 2004
Format: Library Binding
This is an awesome book. It is full of violence, but the most harrowing thing about it is that, although it takes place in the made-up country of Nagaland, it has many paralells with historical truth and with the present-day situation. I first read this book 5 or so years ago. I am now in college, and the more I learn about colonization and contemporary Africa, the truer AK seems. There really are child-soldiers like Paul Kagomi. More importantly, this book is well written. You will find yourself cheering for Paul and Jilli. The characterization and plotting are excellent, and while the book is sad in some respects, it is realistic and not dissapointing. The dual endings show the best and worst possible outcomes to Paul and Nagaland's situaltion, and while the best is uplifting, the worst is absolutely chilling. This amazing book NEEDS to go back into print! Track it down anyway.
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