Noah Adams, a sophisticated American Negro newspaperman, comes to the west coast of Africa- to the newly independent republic of Hermosa, partly in search of news and partly in search of his origins to gain some definition of himself. In Hermosa, which is itself a starling amalgam of different words (there are transistor radios in thatched huts) Noah becomes involved with a few odd people who educate him in the workings of realpolitik and alter some of his concepts of life. Central to Noah's African experiences is Unity Akintola, a salesgirl who is also a prophetess and who is beyond Noah's comprehension in almost all respects, though she will eventually bear his twins. The prime political mentor is Seth Oluwole-Jones, Hermosa's founder and elder statesman and one-time saxophone player in the U.S. Because of his connections with the hub of Herosian affairs, Noah becomes embroiled in a tribal uprising and a subsequent coup d'etat which occurs contrary to all his political knowledge and which is most unpredictably resolved. Seth Jones, who is a combination of cynicism and idealism, can take all of this in his stride and turn it to his benefit but Noah is forced to realize that he could never he at home with Hermosian political witchcraft. He returns to his former way of life (which includes an American wife and two children) leaving a contented Unity behind. As far as she is concerned, he has fulfilled his destiny. Thomas Sterling writes with political sagacity and at the same time with ironic good humor. His attitude is, at the very least, a relief.