Love for another person. Love for humanity as a whole. Are the two compatible or mutually exclusive? In his most ambitious novel since Dreams of My Russian Summers, Andreï Makine takes us into the heart of Africa. His hero is Elias Almeida, a black revolutionary whose father was killed when Elias was still a child, and whose mother, to feed him, was forced to prostitute herself. Saved from death by a Catholic priest, Elias becomes a brilliant pupil destined for greatness. However, the memory of his parents turns him into an important cog in the worldwide revolutionary movement, sending him to Cuba and the Soviet Union to be trained for espionage and sabotage. He begins in his native Angola, still struggling to liberate itself from the colonial yoke, and moves to other political hot spots. But what happens when a black revolutionary dedicated to bettering the world falls in love with a white woman who wants only to live a peaceful, simple life?