'Inside my fortress I felt safe, I could rant and rage, simmer and hate.' William Riley was orphaned and severely, painfully, disfigured when a second world war bomb shattered the shelter to which he had retreated with his family. An uncertain and bitter period of his life began, one in which he was his own tortured and resentful enemy. Fortunately for him he was befriended by a young, similarly maimed girl and then a badly burned soldier, who brought a clarinet and gave Billy a glimmer of faith in what he might become, forgetting the 'Frankenstein's Monster' that he feels himself to be. Riordan skilfully has Billy tell his own moving story, thereby capturing the reader's empathy and creating a compulsion to keep the pages turning.