Allen and Unwin
Published: April 2015
Reviewer: Debbie Berger
Set in war time Afghanistan in Taliban territory, this book tells the story of Australian soldier, Corporal Mark Hollis and an army sniffer dog, Prince. They are involved in a bomb raid that goes wrong that sees Mark’s best friend, and Prince’s handler, killed in a suspenseful start to the story.
The book then takes us on their journey to find safety, all the way dodging treacherous situations, including a kidnapping; stumbling across a drug lab; almost being caught by the Taliban trying to steal food for their survival; and dangerous gun battles – all in the blistering heat of the desert.
The growing bond between Mark and Prince is touching and uncovers how soldiers and their dogs relate to each other in war time. The intelligence and loyalty of these dogs is also explored and it is this perspective that gives the book a softer alternative to the guns and battle story lines of a lot of war themed books – although there is a good dose of those too.
The right amount of suspense, action and drama and at only 173 pages long it is suitable for the reluctant reader and those who like a quick read. It gives a realistic version of the tough life of a solider in war time but is still appropriate for young adults. There are a few references to drug use but this is in context to the story. I am not usually a fan of war stories but I couldn’t put this one down.