About the Book
Here is a vivid, thought-provoking, funny, heart-wrenching picture of life and conditions in some parts of Africa during the 1960s. People who have experienced the spell of the Dark Continent will relish the book's wealth of detail describing situations, scenery, fauna and local atmosphere. While Kangalia, a newly independent state, teeters between the relative innocence of recent paternal colonial administration and bloody war with a neighbouring country, expatriates live their usual cocooned lives in huge plots along the Indian Ocean coast. Servants of all ages are still 'boys': cook-boy, garden-boy... They still live in 'quarters' on their employers' properties. Roads are potholed dirt; missionaries provide the medical services; and mosquitoes are rampant. Wide, empty beaches of blindingly-white, crushed-coral sands stretch for miles parallel to the reef that froths in emerald waters. Elegant palm tree silhouettes stand black and tall in moonlight bright enough to read by. Among the hills tribesmen practice strange rites; and steamy heat makes expatriate morals go by the board. In the big, bustling port, shanty town, ramshackle and filthy, is cheek-by-jowl with stunning, modern buildings. Crowded, romantic alleys, winding past picturesque dhows to the seething Souk, and an ancient Fort recall Arab slavers and Portuguese adventurers who dominated in past centuries. Kathryn, a newly-qualified vet, is doing up her parents ocean-side house. Next door Rory and wheel-chair-bound Liz are building a Centre where, they hope, handicapped Africans will learn crafts, and by selling their artefacts become empowered to abandon lives of extreme pain and hardship. Suave Alistair, with a beautiful Kangalian secretary, runs a five-star hotel. Tourists, arriving by helicopter, rattle over the rag-clad fisherman who, keen to sell his catch, is heaving his dugout from the waves. With an insatiable appetite for sex, Liam works at the hotel. The book starts gently but the pace hots up as guerrilla atrocities upset the calm of golf, bridge, and gossip. Menacing war drums approach ever closer till an exciting and dramatic finale explodes.