The whole of A Far- Off Place is charged with the power and magic and beauty of Africa. Driven with appalling violence from his home by "freedom fighters" François Joubert, a boy about to become a man, who is deeply learned in the life and ways of the bush, embarks on a long and terrible journey. He is accompanied by Nonnie, the young daughter of a retired colonial governor, murdered by the terrorists, Xhabbo, a dearly beloved Bushman whom François had once saved from death, and Xhabbo's wife, Nuin-Tara.
Every effort is made by the attackers, swarming everywhere in the bush, to prevent the little foursome, sole survivors and witnesses of the brutal massacre of Europeans and their Matabele partners, from reaching the outside world. The sustained ferocity of the pursuit appears only too likely to overwhelm them, for François and Nonnie have only their own aristocratic spirit and faith in each other, the native skill of Xhabbo and Nuin- Tara and the courage and intelligence of the noble hunting dog, Hintza, to help them against the most fearful odds.
Not only the bush but also a great desert of a thousand miles of sand and scrub lies between them and any hope of safety. Yet the manner in which this little band and one dog take on this great adventure, turns it into something of a pilgrimage.
Through their physical suffering and almost unbearable agony of heart and mind, they achieve both an unimagined knowledge of the resources of their bodies, and far more important still, find an inner way to an understanding of man's proper place in the natural universe - an acceptance of the right of every living creature to exist alongside him. As a result, whatever the tragedy and disaster of the story, the travail and traffic of their young lives reach out beyond fear and darkness towards an intimation of concord and light.
In contrast to the profound understanding of the land and its birds and animals implicit in the characters of each of the imperiled foursome, the "freedom fighters", promising life, bring only death and in the name of liberty do mortal injury to the innermost spirit of Africa.
A Far-Off Place, though complete in itself, accomplishes with A Story Like the Wind, a unique voyage of discovery into a hidden and hitherto unrecorded core of Africa. Not least of its by-products is an insight into what is committed in that vast continent in the name of liberation and independence.