A tighter tale than Great Elephant (1967--p. 1348), this book is based on the 1904 revolt of the Herrero nation against the German colonizers of Southwest Africa, a revolution that ended in one of the bloodier massacres in African history. Andrew Black, English sub-Inspector, finds his taxation duties singularly unrewarding and abandons his job to enter into partnership with Kurt von Steinberg. They know of the potential rebellion and plan to make money by some fast horse-trading. In the meantime, Black has saved the life of one Matthew Southgate who couples moralistic fervor with an active streak of cowardice. Black, who despises him, banishes him along with a number of early Herrero refugees from the British province. They meet again in German territory, at the Baron yon Steinberg's imitation medieval castle where the intrigues of the household are matched only by the sadistic cruelty of the Baron's lieutenant, Brock. Eventually, Black is forced into the assault on the Herreros as the Germans attempt total annihilation of the tribe, while Matthew becomes a Herrero defender. The book is riddled with scenes of savagery and horror, disease and terror, set mainly in the unrelenting desert. The characters are gaunt mixtures of emotion and motivation. More than adventure, a prelude to Mein Kampf.