THE GATED RIVER by Lucy Ferriss


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Set in a fictional west African country where revolution is heating, this is a story about a woman--torn in loyalty between a very live lover and a dead husband--who becomes a political activist in the country she had once hated. Slack with standard Third World and Western stereotypes, but the central mystery and spy action add a certain involving tension. Marika Hooper, married 15 years to Richard, US Ambassador to the African nation of Yumana, wonders if she really loves her husband, remote in his controlled, private world of orchid raising and interminable negotiations within the hostile sectors of Yumana. Forces spearheaded by the powerful and sinister General Biswandi intend to eradicate the revolutionary dai--guerrillas led by Western-educated Ngebin. Symbol of the oppression by such as Biswandi is the Parambo Dam, which has doomed many natives to death and disease on its perimeter, where an American firm operates a smelter and hydroelectric plant. Then, at an ambassadorial party, Marika will see her husband shot to death. Her own evidence points to the dai. Back in New York, the widowed Marika seeks out her one-time lover, the ""tall, violent"" artist Justin, whose voice over the years had become part of her dream life. But now it is Richard's voice she hears, and after meeting with Yumanese dai activists in the States, she becomes convinced that her Richard was very different from the dai's heroic activist. Though the affair with Justin has been stormily rekindled, she returns to Yumana to track down Richard's killer (the dai? Biswandi? America?). There'll be an erotic idyll with Ngebin, entrapment of (and by) a beefy American, jail and torture, the final victory and a fateful decision made at Yumana's airport. By the author of the similarly bloodless but well-schooled Philip Girl (1985), here with a redeeming spurt of plot and chase action.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1986
Publisher: Watts