A monotone recreation of the physical and spiritual suffering of a group of Jewish partisans in the forests of Russia and Poland during WW II. Mottele is a twelve-year-old Jewish orphan, who like most of the tattered band led by ""Uncle"" Misha, had survived village slaughter by the Germans. A once gentle boy driven by an avenging rage, Mottele joyfully accepts assignments from his adored commander Misha. He blows up a Nazi officer's club, rescues children and dies in action. In addition to the exploits of this ""true, instinctive son of the Maccabees,"" there are accounts of the lives of other partisans: the lovely girl brought back to live and love, grieving husbands and fathers who are now disciplined soldiers, a religious scholar fighting his own doubts about God, etc. It is a temptation (skirted by the much more talented Wiesel and Elman) to invest the heroic victims of the holocaust with a starchy nobility. The author has done just that, so that what remains is less a novel than a Yeshiva workbook.