A land without pity""- a British Protectorate in Africa is reaching the end of its dry season- a weatherbreeder for dark fantasies and fears as rumors sift through the market and the compounds. Four men, proving that the Juju bush-magic is still alive, come to the village in search of a victim and take a child- Tommy- the son of the storekeeper Wilson. He is indifferent to the disappearance of Tommy because he gives him away-there's a touch of the tarbrush in his background. But Jeff Candler, a somewhat older boy, is involved and- committed to save a life which is more than just another ""piccan""- turns to the District Officer, the priest, the missionary- for help- but gets none. Alone he organizes the search into the hills and proves a courage greater than his own fear, his own shame and suffering (a deformed leg)... Very different from his earlier The Place of Jackals and Kampong but again an isolated, menacing part of the world is the scene for an individual show of idealism and faith. The writing is sensuous and heavily hypnotic.