Luti, a fourteen-year-old white girl, has spent most of her life in Portuguese Angola with her geologist father and various African guardians; here she and Nduku, one of these guardians, are hunting in the bush for a lost dog because she has stubbornly refused to give up in the face of Nduku's logic, (""Bongo had not much smart in him. No hungry killer can miss a fat dog like Bongo""). When a leopard attacks, seriously wounding Nduku, he prefers to return to his Kimbutu village for help, and Luti is forced to accompany him. She is first ridiculed there, but gradually becomes accepted and even regarded as possessing an ""Old Soul"" because of her way with animals (a dog and a chameleon). The description of the Kimbutu village as the people suffer through a drought is interesting and the Kimbutus themselves are variously appealing or unpleasant, but the intrusion of Luti into their pattern of life, particularly as she becomes more and more well regarded and indeed a heroine during her stay, is a jarring note. When her father finally finds her, he brings news of the end of the war and full independence for Angola so that they will both be leaving the country. One can't help feeling that the Kimbutus will be well rid of her.