This book is so powerful and gripping and so very real that it is difficult to read it. Boyden takes us right into the French and Belgian trenches during the First World War. We are there and we experience the fear and the agony of this terrible war. The story is really about two young Indian boys who are friends and who enlist and go to the War together. The war changes these young Canadian boys. One (Elijah) becomes a warrior and goes hunting at night. The more Germans that he kills the darker his personality gets. The other one (Xavier) always has idolized his young friend, but cannot stand to see how this terrible war has changed him. We also have the viewpoint of Xavier's old aunt who is a traditional native medicine woman who stays at home in the woods of Northern Ontario but keeps up with her precious Nephew over in Europe through visions. She is the thread that weaves this powerful tale together. The descriptions of the battles and of "going over the top" are hard to forget. I really can't say enough good things about this book. It is truly exceptional. Yes it is difficult at times to keep reading because the war scenes are so devastating and so real, but I am so glad that I read this book.