Louise Davitt, a young Australian anthropologist, and Zeno Wolde, an Ethiopian doctor and fellow anthropologist, research and explore isolated villages and tribal lands in Ethiopia, making fascinating discoveries about the people, the environment and themselves. While working for reform to lift poor peasants out of poverty, they fall in love and marry then have a child. Zeno's work takes him away from home for long stretches of time, then he disappears. Louise visits family in London and is diagnosed with HIV, contracted from Zeno. With effective management and drugs, Louise copes with her serious illness and its stigma-a stigma that at the time in Ethiopia and Kenya, made it impossible for Zeno to seek appropriate treatment. She meets a Norwegian doctor, Haawkon Davos, and builds a new career with its reach and compassion for people with HIV/AIDS, especially across Africa.
'A moving tale of cross-cultural endeavour dealing with problems that for millions of people are all too real. Rees' knowledge of this complex world is evident; his compassion for the powerless shines through.' - Cate Kennedy - author of Sing and Don't Cry: a Mexican Journal