While I understand what Galloway was attempting to do, I don't really feel that he succeeded. As a paean to "the human spirit in the face of adversity" it doesn't really work, because all of the three protagonists as well as the cellist remain incomplete figures; all they do is remain biologically alive (at least for a while). Although the well-publicized story of the cellist was intended to be inspiring, in reality it achieved nothing. The world listened, tisk-tisked and moved on to the next bit of entertainment. What this novel does accomplished may not have been what the writer intended: He succeeds in demonstrating that there are no good guys vs. bad guys on the two sides in a war. Both combatants are victims of a conflagration created by others for their own benefit. The criminals, gangsters, black-marketeers and savvy "businessmen" profit from the human misery they set in motion and the greater the death, destruction, mayhem and brutality, the bigger the profit. There are no heroes in Galloway's story. So in the end, this is a monumentally depressing tale. Galloway is a skillful writer and he did the best he could with a regrettable episode in humanity's disgraceful history.