It's the story of empire. It's the story of a conquering force in Afghanistan realizing that they weren't as conquering as they thought. It's the story of the Massacre of Elphinstone's army told from the point of view of a British soldier antihero. There's a lot of "anti" in that antihero—our narrator is a cad, liar, murderer, rapist, coward, bully... It's kinda hard to continue reading. On the other hand, it reminds us what personality you need to run a proper hegemony.