Set in 1969, this riveting novel of adventure and suspense tells a story of an ex-Peace Corps volunteer who, disillusioned and haunted by her experience in coastal Ecuador, returns to that country's exotic rain forest with the hope of making sense of--if not peace with--her past. Annie Saunders, the half-Jewish daughter of a New York City labor organizer, arrived in Guayaquil in the early 60's fueled by the idealism of the Kennedy era. Though a skilled community organizer and reporter for a small alternative radio station, Saunders, like others with her, was still ill-prepared for the realities of day-to-day life in an oppressed, developing country. When her activism led to the torture of the peasants who followed her protest call and when she was unable to save a dying infant from the terrible throes of dehydration, she fled, crushed by guilt. Now she has returned with her German husband, Kai, on their honeymoon. His desire is to view rare birds; hers is to understand the moral complexities of what she left behind. They fail to anticipate how deeply they will be drawn into the new battlelines forming between the indigenous population and the American oil companies, who seem willing to go to extremes to protect their interests. Mueller captures with rare honesty the complexity and cultural manipulations that occur when an oppressed people must fight for survival and forces of greed vie for the riches of a quickly disappearing paradise. It also captures the lure--and difficulty-- of exotic travel.