My son selected this book on a layover in London. He's 11 and has a hard time finding books are are interesting and engaging (he basically would rather be playing outside with friends, than read). I was worried he would not like this book; that it would be too long, or the topic to 'hisorical'. He LOVED this book, and I read it too, and found it to be a great read. On the cover of my book (the UK version), the subtitle reads, "Two boys, Two Faiths, One unholy war" and on the back, it says, "He looked into the enemy's eyes.. And saw a normal boy just like him..".
I enjoy reading historical fiction--the human story is great, and you get the added bonus of learning a bit of history too. The story is written from the boys' perspective, but has interesting adult characters as well: and my daughter, an avid reader, also enjoyed it. The timeless themes of family, friendship and the humanity of war are well thought out by the writer. It portrays an adequate representation of the times: both the good and bad.
It is too bad that this type of literature is not more widely available to our children. This book talks honestly to them, about people who are different, but maybe not so, .. and about tough situations people get into by circumstance and by history. It does not talk down to them, or spare them some of the realities of life; and, while there is warfare, it is neither gory nor sugar-coated. This was the essence of its appeal to my son.
I highly recommend this book.