Secrets in the Fire by Henning Mankell


Secrets in the Fire by Henning Mankell

'It was the most dangerous thing she could have done. But Sofia was only playing - pushing and shoving and laughing with her sister as they ran out to the fields one pearly dawn. Sofia didn't mean to step off the path. She didn't mean to tread on the monster, the monster that lurked, waiting, under the ground.'..Secrets in the Fire is based on the true story of an indomitable young girl in war-torn Mozambique. In beautifully spare, unsentimental language, Henning Mankell tells how Sofia transcends the brutality and horror that have shattered her childhood, and builds a new future out of the ruins of her life. But if it hadn't been for the strength she drew from the fire, from the secrets she saw in the flames, Sofia might not have found the courage to survive...A deeply moving and unforgettable story.


This is a dramatized account of the true story of Sofia, a young girl growing up amid the violence of the civil war in Mozambique. It is a story of loneliness, of friendship and the indomitability of the human will. Sofia and her sister Maria miraculously escape when bandits raid their village, killing everyone in sight, including their father. Their mother and brother also survive and together they set out on a long trek to a refugee camp, where life seems safer, until one day Sofia steps on a landmine, killing her sister and losing both her legs. Her courage and determination to survive help her to build a life and career for herself against incredible odds. The language of the book, is spare, provocative and very deliberately poetic. It conveys the strong personal attachment Mankell feels for his subject and will undoubtedly inspire young and older readers alike with his frustration at the political situation in Mozambique and the human misery it generates. Recommended for young teens and the incurably romantic, other adults may find the delivery a little too stylized, the pathos a little too thickly ladled for their taste. For those looking for a reminder of the futility of war and the strength of the human spirit, here is a story which presents both with sincerity and conviction. Review by BRETT JONES (Kirkus UK)

About the Author

Henning Mankell

Internationally acclaimed author Henning Mankell has written numerous Kurt Wallander mysteries. The books have been published in 33 countries and consistently top the bestseller lists in Europe, receiving major literary prizes and generating numerous international film and television adaptations.

Henning Mankell was born in Stockholm in 1948, raised in a village in northern Sweden and now divides his time between Sweden and Maputo, Mozambique, where he works as the director of Teatro Avenida.

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Book Info


168 pages
Interest Age: From 13


Henning Mankell
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Publication date

5th January 2000



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