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El Djebena, Malik. #35-114T. How a does a timid boy become a violent gangster? Like this. Sentenced to six years in prison, 19-year-old Malik has his sneakers stolen right off his feet during his first venture into the exercise yard. Caught between the Corsican and Arab-Muslim factions, Malik--a bilingual, French-born Arab and non-observant Muslim--winds up being seen by the Corsicans as an Arab and by the Arabs as a Corsican. To survive, Malik works as an errand boy for the sinister Corsican crime boss who dominates the prison, César Luciani. Malik's intelligence comes to his aid--before long, he can speak to (or eavesdrop on) everyone in the prison. He does what he must to survive, including studying his boss carefully, warily making and then implementing his own plans. When Malik emerges from prison he is a man of the new Europe--albeit a criminal--a polite, industrious, and thoroughly self-made man.