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During the Eritrean struggle for independence from Ethiopia, four Westerners travel under Eritrean rebel escort through a land of savage beauty and bitter drought towards the ancient capital of Asmara. Each is on a personal mission, all are irrevocably changed as they bear witness to the devastation of war as well as to the Eritreans’ courage and humanity in the face of constant attack.


It is a tribute to the power of his narrative that his book reads as the factual account of a journey behind the lines, in the course of which a forgotten history is given flesh and blood
The landscape and the scenario of war and famine are brilliantly used as a backdrop against which the characters' own internal strife and moral hunger are illuminated
Daily Mail
Not since For Whom the Bell Tolls has a book of such sophistication, the work of a major international novelist, spoken out so unambiguously on behalf of an armed struggle
New York Times Book Review
Keneally advances on the interminable conflict with all his customary assurance and probing curiosity . . . The war springs vividly to life . . . [He] keeps things moving through a brilliantly portrayed landscape
Memorable, provocative, full of interest
Literary Review
A touching tribute to a nation which survives, miraculously, on hope against hope
The Sunday Times
Keneally has created a passionate, clear-sighted protagonist, and his companions are just as compelling . . . They react and interact in an atmosphere at once dangerous and invigorating
Time Out