Translated from the original French by Howard Curtis
Yasmina Khadra takes current events as a starting point to explore opposing views and myths of Africa and the West, attitudes to life and work and our duties towards our fellow humans, ultimately delivering a powerful message of friendship, resilience and redemption.
Kurt Krausmann, a recently bereaved Frankfurt doctor, is persuaded to join his friend, wealthy benefactor Hans Makkenroth, on a humanitarian mission to the Comoros. The journey helps him begin to confront his loss, but soon misfortune strikes again: the boat he and Hans are travelling in is hijacked in the Gulf of Aden and the men are taken hostage.
Held in a remote hideout, the prisoners suffer harsh conditions and the brutality of their guards; self-styled warriors, ex-army captains and even poets drawn to banditry through poverty or opportunism. When the group decamps to a lawless desert region and Hans is taken away, Kurt sinks deeper into despair. But fellow inmate Bruno, a French ethnologist who has been travelling Africa for 40 years, attempts to show Kurt another side to the wounded yet defiant continent he has taken to his heart.
About the Author
Yasmina Khadra is the author of more than 20 novels, including The Swallows of Kabul and The Attack, both shortlisted for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Khadra’s work has been published in 45 countries. He has twice been honoured by the Académie française, winning both the Médaille de vermeil and Grand Prix de littérature.
A skilled storyteller working at the height of his powers – a gripping read.