In 1982, twelve-year-old Reza has no interest in joining Iran’s war effort against Iraq. But in the wake of a tragedy and at his mother’s urging, he decides to enlist, assured by the authorities that he will achieve paradise should he die in service to his country. War does not bring the glory the boys of Iran have been promised, and Reza soon finds himself held in a prisoner-of-war camp in Iraq, where the guards not only threaten violence―they act upon it. Will Reza make it out alive? And if he does, will he even have a home to return to? Friendship, heartbreak, and Reza’s very survival are at stake as he finds solace through music and forges his own path―wherever that might take him.
The Commander has lost his mother and one of his legs in the Iran-Iraq war. Now he spends most of his time alone in his room where he recreates the conflict with an imaginary enemy and soldiers, trying to avenge his losses. His father urges him to take off his artificial leg when he is at home, to join his uncles and aunties who have arrived for dinner. But when he does, he finds out that they are all about to go off to meet his “new mother.” Back in his room the imaginary war continues, and he confronts an enemy soldier who is also missing a limb. A battle seems inevitable until The Commander offers the enemy his artificial leg.