For Nyallo, a little boy growing up in the Upper Nile region of war-torn southern Sudan, his small village and its inhabitants represented the whole universe. To him, the world outside, the world beyond the shadows, was a fairyland and only there did tragedy and pain exist. However, his eyes, blinded by childhood naivety, would soon be opened and there would be no turning back. With a curiosity and wisdom far greater than his years, Nyallo was forced to step across the line between fairytales and reality, to face painful truths and to smell death. Inspired and nurtured by the inner wisdom of his special friend, an elderly man who was weak in body but strong in spirit and soul, he embarked on a journey from boyhood to manhood, prepared to walk a difficult path that would lead him into the real world fearlessly, heralding a new dawn and the taste of freedom for a broken-spirited people. This is a moving and poignant story of survival in the grip of hopelessness, of the resilience of the soul through oppression, where songs of death and doom are reborn as songs of life and hope through the incredible gift of a deep and life-defining friendship.

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