The book tells of the connection that was made between the baby elephant and the little boy. The two became inseparable until a new buyer came to Germany to purchase the animals for the purpose of moving the circus to the US. A promise made to his dying father and a heart that longed to do it anyway caused young Bram to smuggle himself onto the ship carrying Modoc and the other animals away.
During the transport however, the ship sailed into the path of a hurricane and was destroyed. Only a few people survived and one of the only reasons was due to Modoc. Fearing she had drowned, Bram almost gave up until out of nowhere came Modoc swimming in the Indian Ocean. For weeks she floated until she and Bram were rescued. They found themselves in an Indian village where there was an Elephantarium to keep and treat injured elephants. Bram and Modoc were nursed back to health by the people in the village. The relationship Bram shared with Modoc impressed teh people, and Bram was eventually named a favored son of the maharajah. Hearing that Mr. North, the man who had purchased the closed circus, was frantically searching for Bram and Modoc, the village helped them escape as they searched for a new home working in the teak villages. After almost being killed by the conditions and then by a band of thieves, the two made it to a small Indian village on the border. It was there they would settle for some time. Bram became a mahout and fell in love and married. The bliss would not last however as the People's Liberation Party army infiltrated the village and led the quiet, peaceful people into a war. During the trek, Bram watched as an ambush resulted in the deaths of almost everyone in the party. The ambush also resulted in Modoc being shot to the point of death and Bram's wife, Sian, being killed. The attack made such international news that Mr. North was able to track Bram and Modoc down and stole them away from the village and shipped them to the US.
In the US, Modoc became the most famous elephant to ever live. She appeared in countless movies and became the first elephant to ever perform an act without a trainer. She was responsible for the rescue of many children and entire families at one circus event when a fire broke out and consumed the whole place resulting in many lives lost. Due to an unfortunate string of events, Modoc was eventually sold away by Mr. North despite Bram's best attempts to save her. It would be ten years before the two would be reunited by Ralph Helfer in Los Angeles at his exotic animal refuge. There the two would die days apart from one another.
I obviously have left lots of details out of the story, but to say the least, it's almost too good to be true. How one man and one elephant made a trek from Germany to India to England and to the USA is almost unfathomable. I couldn't help but get teary eyed reading the story and seeing the adversity they had to continue to work through and how mean and cruel the world can be. Reading of how the two played together and could understand one another made me think of how it will be one day when Jesus sets all things in order. The lion will lay down with the lamb and all strife and angst will be removed. It's going to be a great day for sure. In some way, reading this book makes you long for it even more.
Very, very good read! There are some adult themes in the book as it deals in detail with many of the occurrences which took place, but it's very much a good book and a story not so easily forgotten.