Richard and Robin Mariner are drawn into the deadly civil war of a turbulent West African nation.
The small country of Benin la Bas is notable mostly for its dense forests and the ultrarare orchid known as the Ghost. Tyrannical President Liye Banda has seized this tropical paradise, but the freedom-fighting army of Gen. Dr. Julius Chaka has constantly challenged his rule. Part of Chaka's campaign several years ago (Benin Light, 2008) involved the kidnappings of Robin Mariner and Anastasia Asov, the best friend of Chaka's daughter, Celine, as bargaining chips. Politics makes strange bedfellows, however, and now, four years into the new administration, Robin and her husband, Richard, an international industrialist and avid seaman, are attending a celebration for Chaka in Benin la Bas and even considering financial support for the struggling country. While the Mariners rub elbows with other wealthy guests at the Presidential Palace in Granville Harbour, Celine and Anastasia, who are working at a jungle hospital and school in the far north of the nation, come under siege from a terrorist group called the Army of Christ the Infant. Its child soldiers, led by the terrifying Gen. Nlong, have already killed the hospital and school's leader, the Rev. Antoine. Fortified by their experience in the previous coup, Anastasia and Celine try to organize the workers, nuns and students to fight back, but they need reinforcements. Will the Mariners arrive in time?
Although Tonkin forgoes his usual maritime action, he energetically describes the wielding of weapons and fists in another solid adventure with a dash of current world events.