"Most of the great battles are fought in the creases of topographical maps." With the opening line of his bestselling Warlight (Knopf, $26.95), Michael Ondaatje prepares the reader to look for what is hidden in the creases. Ondaatje sets the scene in 1945 London. The Second World War has just ended and fourteen-year-old Nathaniel and his sixteen-year-old-sister Rachel are at boarding school. While under the care of their parents' mysterious colleague, who the children have nicknamed "the Moth," the two create a secret world of elaborate spy missions, tracing their adventures on a map. Nathaniel uses these mapped narratives, told from the child's perspective, to explain his parents’ otherwise unaccountable absence as well as to make sense of the Moth’s shadowy business dealings. As the narrator grows from child to adult, Ondaatje skillfully pieces together the family’s secrets and revelations with the deeper realities of wartime activities—all of which lead to a devastating truth.
Warlight by Michael Ondaatje