Now or Never: A Dunkirk Story

(1 customer review)


Now or Never: a Dunkirk Story is the first of the ‘Voices’ series, featuring seldom-told stories from British history.  Now or Never tells of Private Fazal Khan, who volunteers from his home in India to join the fight against tyranny on the battlefields of the Second World War. Fazal is part of the Indian Service Regiment, where he spends his days caring for mules in the midst of one of the most tumultuous episodes of the war. He is caught up in the retreat to the beaches of Dunkirk and must deal with even more than the terrors of this dangerous trek to reach the evacuation zone.

The Company’s captain defends his troops in the face of a terrible betrayal at the point of rescue: not everyone has welcomed the help brought by the Indian troops.  Fazal is forced to question why he is even there and why he is expected to be loyal to a king whose people don’t all see him as their equal.

Be sure to read the Author’s notes at the end of the book that reveals more on the role of Indian troops in the war; its both moving and thrilling.

Add to Wishlist
Add to Wishlist


Now or Never: A Dunkirk Story

Bali Rai


Now or Never: A Dunkirk Story is narrated by Private Fazal Khan, a young Muslim soldier in Company 32 of the Royal Indian Army Service Corps.  This is a moving and insightful account of a key event in the Second World War. Fifteen-year-old Fazal runs away from his family in northern India to volunteer. He lies about his age to join up and serve the British Empire.  He emulates his grandfather, who joined up during World War I. His role is to look after the mules used to carry supplies to the front line, which he performs with diligence and pride.  However, he yearns for a more active combat role.
Fazal has romantic views of duty, loyalty and honour.  These are, however, challenged when he arrives in France during the freezing winter of 1939.  He experiences the harsh realities of war and the routine prejudice faced by people of colour. Despite the sacrifices made by members of Company 32, not everyone treats them as equals.  This becomes shockingly apparent as the corps are obliged to retreat and as they await evacuation at Dunkirk.
This excellent and moving book is part of the Voices series.  The series is a thought-provoking collection of stories based on true events, aiming to highlight the valuable and often overlooked contribution made by immigrants to Britain throughout history.
A thrilling and poignant story, with a stunning coda in the author’s note at the conclusion.

1 review for Now or Never: A Dunkirk Story

  1. Paula Hale

    An excellent story as part of the ‘voices’ series. This is very honest and needs to be shared with children in schools. I will be adding this to our classroom. Bali Rai, is an outstanding writer and this is another one of his books I have loved.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may also like…