Benedict Allen travelled through Papua New Guinea in search of a tribe that would let him participate in an initiation ceremony into manhood. He was finally admitted to the ceremonies of the Sepik tribe, whose totemic god is the crocodile. With fifteen other young males, Allen was secluded from the village in a large nest-like enclosure. Crocodile marks were carved onto their bodies with sharpened bamboo. Grey mud was applied to stop the blood-flow from their wounds, and they were beaten every day for six weeks. This book is the story of Allen's initiation experiences - a tale of love, community through shared pain and of sudden death.