On a bush road in the Congo, at night in the middle of a tropical storm, baby Lucas is nearly killed in a car crash, in which his twin sisters and English mother die. His engineer father, Pierre, seriously injured, subsequently marries the Congolese nurse, Marie, and Lucas is raised in Brussels by his aunts, before returning to the newly independent Congo in 1960, aged nine. He sees it as a place of wonder - the animal, birds, and insects, the tribes with their bows and arrows. He makes friends with Mongu, the old one-handed watchman opposite, a survivor from the terrible days of King Leopold's holocaust.

All is not what it seems, however: we are at the height of the Cold War, when both sides are seeding the Congo with deep-cover spies. Lucas's father and new wife are ardent left-wingers at a time when the Soviets are eager to control the strategic heart of Africa, seeking support from sympathisers of all nationalities. Eventually, when teenage Lucas eavesdrops on an emergency late-night meeting between Pierre and a CIA employee, his confusion hardens to suspicion.

Genre: Literary Fiction

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Used availability for Adam Thorpe's Borderline

Hardback Editions

January 1999 : UK Hardback

Title: Borderline
Author(s): Adam Thorpe
ISBN: 1-78733-145-8 / 978-1-78733-145-7 (UK edition)
Publisher: Jonathan Cape
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon AU