This is one of those ventures into an obscure corner of history -- a conscientious recreation and a fullbodied rendering which nevertheless requires a considerable cultural leap on the part of the reader. We are plunged here into the 19th century wars between the ""Hottentots,"" or Nama of South-West Africa, and the taller, blacker, richer ""Cattle People"" who challenged their hold on the land. This unequal battle was complicated by the appearance of the historical leader Haramub, known also as Jonker Afrikaner, a Hottentot from South Africa who acquired horses, firearms and a dream of empire through his contact with white settlers. Young Garib -- an apprentice Nama hunter, later a slave of the Cattle People and a disillusioned follower of Haramub, watches this complex struggle from a humble but critical perspective. His tale is precisely, poetically unfolded; however readers who are drawn to the epic of cultural dislocation may well be dissatisfied with Garib's final resort to a half-Nama, half-Christian religious epiphany.