"It's winter 1944 and the second World War is entering its most crucial state. A few months ago Ali Banana was a blacksmith's apprentice in his rural hometown in West Africa; now he's behind enemy lines, trekking through the Burmese jungle. He is fourteen years old. 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 if they manage to escape the Japanese, infection and disease lie in waiting. As torrential rains turn the landscape into a muddy death trap, the losses mount up. Homesick and weary, the men of D-Section Thunder Brigade refuse to give up. Taut and immediate, at once somber and exhilarating, 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. Horrific and always brilliantly executed, this vividly realized account details the madness, the sacrifice and the dark humor of that wars most vicious battleground. It is also the moving story of a boy trying to live long enough to become a man. "--Back cover.