Mo is a major talent and his prose style always impressive. Put that together with a highly charged war novel and political "thriller" and one of the most engaging narrators you'll meet and you get a tremendous read. Based loosely (or perhaps not that loosely) on the invasion of East Timor by Indonesia in 1975 it describes the struggles of a once colonial nation towards, if not democrasy, at least independence under the threat of re-colonization and political oppression. The main themes explored are about national identity, loyalty, and the courage of one's convictions against expediency, self preservation and humanity. Many distinctions are blurred by the guerilla war / terrorist attacks of (gay) hero Adolph Ng's rebel band of defenders and as well as the bloody (and graphic) military struggle there is the spin, politics and propaganda war that cause you to re-evaluate the rights and wrongs of the situation, question motives, tactics and decisions. Osvaldo, the charismatic leader of the rebels is another unsettling character - some times heroic, at other times a Saddam-like tyrant. It's a white knuckle read but with important political messages, Catch 22 with hints of Siege of krishnapur and Heart of Darkness. Masterpiece? Probably.