When Wold War II breaks out no one is rescuing the children of the orphanage in Rangoon, Burma. The 62 Anglo-Burmese children aren’t wanted by the British nor by the Burmese, so they are left with their teacher, Grace Collins, while the others flee.
As the threat of the Japanese grows stronger, Grace decides to deliver the children to the safety of India herself. Their journey starts in an old school bus, but soon they end up in the jungle with nothing left and no help from others.
Just as Grace starts despairing a group of elephants and men appear. They are willing to take the orphans to India. But will they make it?
I love reading historical novels and one of my favourite subjects is WWII. Not just the ordinary soldier stories, but the more special ones, about people and what they do to survive, so it’s logical I was immediately attracted to this novel.
And I wasn’t disappointed. I loved Grace and the way she tried to save the children. It was also nice to read about the children, but I had the feeling that Sweeney only ‘knows’ a few of them. About five children are actively taking part in the story, but the others aren’t mentioned once, not even a name. They are always addressed as ‘the children’ of ‘the group’.
The elephant men are fantastic. They give you such a warm feeling! I would like to have seen them for real. It’s such an unreal situation, but in fact it’s based on a true account, but unfortunately one that didn’t end well.
Of course I can’t image what it would have been like if I were there, but this novel gives you an idea of the jungle, its secrets and the fear you have if someone is chasing you down.
If you are looking for a road (or better an elephant) novel, then this is what you should read!