The erstwhile peace-loving land of Zamascus has been suddenly invaded by the army of Inigon. Thirteen year old Imm and his twin brother, Saxon, find themselves thrust into an unimaginably violent, horrific reality. Having just witnessed the gruesome death of their teacher during a bombing raid, they flee to their home to find it empty, their parents gone. After a terrifying flight through their newly-ravaged town, the boys cling together, using their instincts and wits to negotiate the hostile terrain.
When Courage Came To Call is an unflinchingly violent book. It’s hard to believe that this visceral, brutal story sprang from the mind of 16 year old, female first-time author, L.M. Fuge. In this gripping story, Fuge confronts readers with an effective blend of heart-pounding action and realistic dialogue. Vivid descriptions of military force, revolution, and genocide are riveting in their authenticity and drama.
Her characters are beautifully realised: Imm, the brains of the operation, is a thoughtful, sensitive boy; his brother Saxon is equally well-drawn as his impulsive, daring counterpart. Their complementary characteristics and brotherly bond make for enjoyable reading throughout this breakneck-paced page-turner.
There’s not an ounce of fat in this book. Fuge has developed a lean, tight narrative, filled with the gritty realism of war and its senseless slaughter:
It was an old shotgun, not one of the modern semi-automatic rifles of the soldiers. My eyes lifted from the gaping hole that could mean my death, and fixed on the figure clutching the trigger with firm hands.
As the boys encounter other surviving children among the ruins of their town, they forge friendships and build alliances for an eventual resistance. Along the way, Imm questions the politics of conflict, the nature of revenge, his own building rage, and the depth of his own character and courage. Fuge explores the themes of genocide, loss, camaraderie, and personal strength. Her taut, staccato style perfectly echoes the raw, brisk nature of the plot. When Courage Came to Call is a great read, filled with important themes and wonderful lessons about the legacy of violence, the treachery of combat, the importance of friendship, and the well of courage each of us (sometimes unexpectedly) has within us.
When Courage Came To Call – Fuge
April 1st 2010 by Random House Australia
Paperback, 326 pages