This new novel by Gillian Slovo was inspired by her extensive research for a 2011 play loosely based on the London riots. It's 4:00 a.m., and dawn is about to break over the Lovelace estate. Cathy Mason drags herself out of bed as she swelters in her overheated bedroom - the council still haven't turned the radiators off despite temperatures reaching the 30s.
On 11 September 2001, in a café in London, Ahmed Errachidi watched as the twin towers collapsed. He was appalled by the loss of innocent life. But he couldn’t possibly have predicted how much of his own life he too would lose because of that day. In a series of terrible events, Ahmed was sold by the Pakistanis to the Americans in the diplomatic lounge at Islamabad airport and spent five and a half years in Guantanamo.
It is 1884. In Khartoum, General Gordon stands on the roof of his fortress as the city is besieged. He has vowed to fight the Mahdi to the death. At his side is the boy he rescued from the English dockyardslums - his reluctant last ally. Approaching with the Camel Corps is a young doctor who has joined the expedition to rescue Gordon. As the men make agonising progress across the desert, John Clarke struggles to be the hero of his imagining, while his abandoned wife, Mary, troubles his conscience.