But the human legacy of the British Empire will be left behind in the shape of 62 Anglo-Burmese children, born to local women after affairs with foreign men.
Half castes, they are not acknowledged by either side, and they are to be abandoned with no one to protect them. Their teacher, Grace Collins, a young Englishwoman, refuses to join the European evacuation and instead sets out to deliver the orphans to the safety of India. She faces impossible odds because between her and India lie 1,000 miles of jungle, mountains, rivers, and the constant, unseen threat of the Japanese.
With Japanese soldiers chasing them down, the group's chances of survival shrink - until they come across a herd of 53 elephants who, with their awesome strength and kindness, quickly become the orphans' only hope of survival.
Based on a true story, Elephant Moon is an unforgettable epic tale of courage and compassion in the midst of brutality and destruction.
John Sweeney is a reporter for BBC Panorama. He has won many journalism awards and is the author of five previous books. Elephant Moon is his first novel.
"If you were to relocate Michael Morpurgo's War Horse to Burma in the Second World War, with elephants taking the sentimental role from the horses, you might end up with something like Elephant Moon by John Sweeney. It is a tender and loving tribute to 'Nature's great masterpiece.... The only harmless great thing', as John Donne described the elephant, as well as an insight into one of the forgotten battlegrounds of the war." (Literary Review)
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Paul McAviney on 12-07-15
Great easy to listen story.
I had just finished John Sweeneys book about Scientology and decided to try this.
Very different type of book.
Easy to listen to story about an English lady escaping kids over the mountains out of Burmah.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
By Granny June on 28-01-16
Where does Elephant Moon rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
This story was compelling, exciting and heartwarming all at the same time. A great read and one I will return to more than once.
What other book might you compare Elephant Moon to, and why?
The author gives credit to Elephant Bill (still sitting on our bookshelf from 40 odd years ago) which is the true life account of refugees and elephants and more.
Which character – as performed by Helen Johns – was your favourite?
Mother and little Oomi were my favourites - how could you not love the elephants?
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
When Oomi was caught in the flash flood I just had to read on to discover his fate.
Any additional comments?
Although this is fiction, it is based on fact. The elephants' skill and knowledge is well documented as is their close relationship with their handlers. The story put me through a whole range of emotions - much the same as Grace, the heroine, would have had.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful