I liked this book a lot. I read The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by the same author and loved it!!! I can't decide which is better but if you haven't read either you definitely should. I usually don't like historical fiction but this book was a mystery at the same time. It is based in the time period of the first World War, in London. Alfie Summerfield in eight when the war breaks out and only understands that his father is leaving them to go fight. At first his father writes, but as the war rages his letters stop coming. The war was supposed to end by Christmas but it has been going on for over a year. His mother claims his father in on a secret mission and can't write but Alfie is old enough to know something it wrong. Not only does he have to worry about his dad, but now the bills are piling up and Alfie's lonely mother can barely keep up. Alfie secretly skips school and shines shoes at the train station everyday to make money for his family. The book is about Alfie finding out where his father is and trying to rescue him. Alfie may be young, but nothing is going to stop him from getting his dad back.