In the aftermath of the Japanese attack on Burma in 1942, tens of thousands of British colonists and their Indian and Chinese servants were forced into a desperate flight to safety towards India. Facing monsoon rains, leeches and a host of unpleasant tropical diseases on their march through the jungle, they died by the score along the treacherous tracks. Coming to the rescue of a particularly imperiled party of refugees was Gyles Mackrell, a 53-year-old Royal Air Force veteran-turned-tea plantation owner in India, and his herd of 20 elephants. While this is a tale of great heroism that deserves to be retold, the author unfortunately narrates it at such a leisurely pace, one sometimes doesn\'t feel exhilarated by Mackrell\'s daring exploits. Also, Martin - who is best known for his fictional detective books - tends to flesh out what he\'s gleaned from Mackrell\'s personal diaries with plenty of conjecture about his subject\'s innermost thoughts, which at times feels slightly contrived. Nevertheless, those with a fondness for wartime adventure stories should find this a satisfying read.