Set in east Africa in the fictitious locale of Tangini this short but effective novel is the story of a few transitional days between colonialism and independence. First, two Asian colonial officials are murdered by the leader of the Federation of Trade Unions, Zachio Zuberi, and for those who have settled for a modus vivendi with the British, the choice is clear -- get out or hope for the best. Finding himself pitted against Zuberi is Paul Kisenga, a Europeanized African lawyer who refuses to expect less from his countrymen than he does from himself. But Independence Day brings the awful murder of Paul's liberal white partner who had spent 50 years in Tangini and this is followed by Zuberi's all-out attack on the Asian settlement -- which is eventually halted by the lawyer. Then, in a personal showdown, Kisenga kills Zuberi and thereby forfeits his own principles, in a way, to the realities. Writing in a tone of reasonable understatement, the author manages to convey the complexities without diminishing the drama.