Strange mishaps befall the caravan of Ka-na, camel master to the great king Mansa as he leads a pilgrimage across the Sahara from Timbuktu to Mecca. Broken camel litter frames, contaminated water holes, a wounded camel arouse the suspicions of Batu, Ka-na's young son, and he is soon convinced that Ali Khudar, the Grand Vizier, is responsible for this treachery. When during a great festival in the city of Walah, Ka-na is arrested for stealing gold, Batu is impelled to force the hand of the real thief. In a series of spine-tingling events, Batu and his friends bring Ali Khudar before the Mansa along with the necessary incriminating evidence. The Grand Vizier had dreams of greater power to be realized by disabling the caravan and inciting revolt. Details of a faraway locale, its intriguing customs and people endow this story with special appeal.