A really well written, gripping and vivid novel about a dark period in both Britain and Kenya's recent history. Those Brits doing it again - undermining the locals and destroying their way of life, with the locals fighting back. Author John McGhie is a journalist, having worked for the BBC and Observer newspaper, C4 News, and others. Primarily an investigative journalist he has also turned his hand to film making, his major achievement being a prize winning film he made about historical war crimes committed during the Mau Mau conflict in Kenya during 1952-1963. This would appear to be the background to his novel, the focus being on the Mau Mau reparation case, seeking an apology and financial reparations from the British government to Kenyans still alive from those times. Britain saying sorry to any nation is a gob smacking event, this settlement unprecedented when it finally happened in 2013.

This novel then, takes place in both the present and the past. It is 2008 and Samantha Seymour is one of the team of lawyers sent from London to talk to the claimants about their cases and their allegations against the colonial government of the time. She knows her grandparents lived in Kenya during this time, met and married there, and that there was something very murky about her grandfather's involvement in the Mau Mau rebellion that no one ever talked about it. She goes to Kenya with an open and curious mind, seeking to learn more about her family history.

Back in 1952, her grandfather Johnny Seymour has recently arrived in Nairobi, still traumatised by what he saw in the camps at the end of WWII in Europe. He has since become a journalist/photographer, working with his old army boss Grogan Littlejohn,  for the Government Information Office. He doesn't really like the culture of the British colonial that he is forced to live and work in, preferring the wide open spaces of Kenya, but he quickly becomes smitten with Tansy, a nurse who has lived most of her life in Kenya, and would appear to be Grogan's girlfriend. But it is his work as a photographer that exposes him to the underbelly of the great British colonial might, and before long he is fighting his own battle to stay alive, record what is going on around him, and save the lives of both Tansy and their Kenyan driver.

Great characters, both flawed and honourable, terrific story development and a most satisfying conclusion. Excellent book.

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