A powerful and affecting novel of Africaâ€™s child-soldiers, by French Africaâ€™s pre-eminent novelist. Birahima is ten years old. He lives in the Ivory Coast. He is a soldier. In Ahmadou Kouroumaâ€™s extraordinary novel, Birahima tells his story.At the age of ten his mother dies and Birahima leaves his native village, accompanied by the sorcerer/crook Yacouba, to search for his aunt Mahan. Crossing the border into Liberia, they are seized by a rebel force and press-ganged into military service. Birahima is given a Kalashnikov, minimal rations of food, a small supply of dope and a tiny wage. Fighting in a totally chaotic civil war, and alongside many other boys, some no older than himself, Birahima sees death, torture, amputation and madness, but somehow manages to retain his own sanity.Ahmadou Kouroumaâ€™s masterpiece is powerful, terrible and frequently bitterly funny.From the Hardcover edition.