40 Men and 12 Rifles is an expansive, gripping graphic novel set in Indochina in the year leading up to 1954, when the French-held garrison at Dien Bien Phu fell after a four-month battle, leading to the end of the first Indochina war between French forces and Ho Chi Minh's nationalist rebels. Minh (no relation to Ho) is a young man from Hanoi, an aspiring painter who dreams of experiencing la vie boheme in Paris's Latin Quarter. To dissuade him from pursuing an artistic life, his father sends him into the countryside to tend to the family's holdings. He is soon pressed into serving with the Ho Chi Minh rebels, where he becomes a soldier despite repeatedly defying his cadres - ideological Communist commanders with whom he disagrees - becoming both hero and anti-hero in the process. 40 Men and 12 Rifles is a moving and beautifully illustrated book about the human and artistic spirit of the Indochinese people who persevered in the face of warfare and suffering.