The stories and legends of the Bushmen were told to Conrad when he was twelve years old. He was on a hunting trip with his father, Jack Hartmann, a brutal but confused man who 'gave' Conrad an old Bushman to teach him the ways of the land. Bastiaan taught him not only about the beasts and plants and soil, but inculcated in Conrad a philosophy that would remain with him throughout his life.
But at home Conrad learns a different set of rules as he and Beeky, the young sister he adores, huddle together listening to the sound of his mother being beaten and told she is trash. Jack Hartmann, a senator and man of power in the community, hates his wife and daughter as much as he loves his son and Conrad's mother impresses on him that he must always protect and guard his little sister.
As they achieve maturity, Conrad appears to conform to the vision his father has for him. He joins the army, fighting on the Namibian borders - a savage and hideous conflict. But Beeky defies her father and the establishment, goes her own way, yearning for a new South Africa, a new life, tenderness and kindness in place of hatred and derision.
The story of their fulfilment, tragedy, and the return of hope is the story of an ancient land fighting towards redemption.
'Her understanding of character and motivation, of the way in which humanity can shine through in one area and fail lamentably in another is outstanding. Unreservedly recommended'
'Jooste is a sensitive writer and a master of understatement'
'A remarkable novel...ought to win prizes...a great book'