The sole heir to a staggering family fortune recovers from mental instability in time to embark on a humanitarian mission to Africa with political ramifications.
Cristian Honey Vane, infamous if only for the recognition-value of his notoriously moneyed surname (think â€œHilton”), exclusively inherits the mother lode from his father, John Beregard Vane, who finally succumbed to old age at 103. A reclusive bachelor at age 29, Vane’s life strains his psyche after newshounds discover his dalliance with a prostitute named Prissy, followed by a drunken night attempting posthumous amends at his father’s mausoleum. After Vane casually learns about scammers defrauding the American public all in the name of Ethiopian famine victims, he embarks on a journey to Africa with the hopes of using his newfound wealth to put an end to the destitute conditions there. Guided by an elderly, white-robed East African translator named Mudahid, Vane traverses the highlands of Mamuset seeking to set up camp and begin construction on an enormous humanitarian oasis. But his lack of religious affiliation, his steely determination (that borders on brinksmanship) and opposition from several high-ranking militia places his well-conceived plan in jeopardy. It’s a far cry from the 318-acre beachfront family estate he left behind in southern California, but Vane manages to make the best of his new African endeavor by carefully avoiding pitfalls like bloodthirsty pirates, the seduction of a beautiful journalist, an attack by an Eritrean vanguard and a plague of locusts. His plan eventually comes to fruition, though it sets off much political infighting. Vane miraculously escapes with a few scratches and his tale of adventure is curiously left open-ended, perhaps leaving room for a sequel. Though his prose can ramble and become unruly, Sanders (Freak, 2007, etc.), a prolific wordsmith, deftly reins in some cumbersome exposition and keeps his story tight and clean.
A savory tale bursting with detail and imagination that will appeal to both fiction and science-fiction fans.