In The Boy and the Partisan, a thirteen year old city-boy named Bobby is spending his summer vacation with his grandparents in one of the small medieval villages in the heart of the Carpathian Mountains, where life has not changed in centuries. Anemic looking, dressed in city clothes and allergic to everything, he tries to ignore the lack of electricity and running water and struggles with the daily chores of feeding the horse, chickens, and cow, and bringing fresh water home from the distant well. Fueled by vampire literature and with Dracula’s castle only miles away, he strings together cloves of garlic to wear around his neck as protection.
Overnight, the Communist government Securitate troops take over the village and make Bobby’s grandparents’ house their headquarters. The soldiers begin combing the surrounding forested mountains searching for partisans. The partisans are “freedom fighters” who want to keep Communists out of the mountains, so hoped-for American paratroopers can safely land there and help free Romania from its Russian occupiers. For days the sound of gunfire and grenade explosions echoes through the mountains.