A study not a story, really, demonstrating--decisively--just what the title says. Until he and Pete and Geoff build the camp in the ditch, Derek doesn't worry about the air raids; scrambling to the shelter is routine unless you're lucky and, lagging behind, get a look at the Hurricanes intercepting the bombers. Then the camp is smashed by the White Road gang, Geoff's blackbird egg is broken, and Derek's darts, and Pete's prized six-shooter is gone; they'll have revenge, says Tom who's about to go into the Merchant Navy and seems very big, very responsible and resolute, to the younger boys. But the mudball ambush turns into a rough and tumble battle and then, worse, Tom and Johnny Wiggs, long-time antagonists, face each other alone, waiting to spring: "This was the bomb about to go off." The hate that he's seen lodges in Derek, bringing fear that he can't handle; and that night a bomb kills Pete, his lodestone, "and the world he would live in from now on would be a different world." In the sense that the boys have no options, there is no plot; insofar as they are done to, not doers, they are not protagonists; and to that extent the book is handicapped, especially for the reader as young--not more than ten--as the boys here. Their delineation is sure (from a snatch of dialogue you might know them individually and jointly) and Tom, being a surprise, is an uncommon quantity in a juvenile. The book has many excellences but it remains problematic.