Centered around the plight of five Darfuri refugees, the novel follows the stories of Zara, Ahmed, Hawa, Abdelatif, and Rashid as each of them copes with life- and soul-threatening circumstances. Author Rebecca Tinsley makes their journey the reader s journey, and long after you put the book down the characters will stay with you. Zara, barely escapes from the marauding Arabs and, numb with terror, crouches in a dried up riverbed beneath a rocky pass in the mountains. As the killing helicopter gunship flies overhead, her heart stops as she spies her pink flip flops clearly visible on the open ground near her. Zara, who is unusually gifted with both intelligence and education, hears the steady and calm voice of her grandfather the Sheikh of her village now dead telling her to use both of her gifts. I m going to survive this, she assures herself as she rescues her shoes and resumes her flight toward the uncertain sanctuary of the refugee camp. Ahmed, as fleet of foot as Zara is of mind and a born soccer player, organizes soccer teams in the refugee camp to help the dispirited refugees cope. Now, however, sitting in the stifling interrogation room, Ahmed tries to take his mind off the heat and the pain of the bullet lodged in his hip. Maybe this wound of mine will stop me playing professional soccer, but I can live with that, if it means getting out of here, he thinks. He recalls how the cool dawn air used to feel as he emerged from his hut, back in the village, when he used to run. After the first few paces he would get into his stride, leaving the village behind, like a streak of lightning, like the wind. Free of the cares and woes that plagued him and the rest of his village. His mind and his eyes looking forward, for the future, for hope. Hawa, measured and accustomed to being obedient, accepted the traditional role of a woman in her Darfuri village. Now wounded and damaged, she fights to find the will to live. She finds that will with help from Mary, the Christian nurse, from Ahmed, the optimist and organizer, and even in a backhanded way from Rashid, to whom she had been betrothed. The pain returned when she pulled herself upright, but Hawa felt strangely triumphant. I survived, she thought. I made it and I m here and I survived. They re not going to destroy me that easily. Ultimately, she goes far beyond finding the will to live: she develops into a strong leader who takes on the task of helping her people to learn and develop a new way of thinking and living. As Rebecca Tinsley guides us through each character s journey, we learn about the politics of violence and genocide, about the pain and terror of the African Wild West and about the hope, burning like a beacon in the night, that drives these young Darfuris to fight for their country, fight for their freedom, and fight for their lives.