A novel about adventure and conflict, about coming of age and discovering love Just and Colombe are brother and sister, heirs to the Clamorgan estate. A scheming aunt and shortage of suitable interpreters, however, means the children soon find themselves aboard a ship bound for the Bay of Rio. As they embark on the journey of their lives, they encounter a world they could never have imagined, a world marked by uneasy alliances and illness, by double-dealings, lies and spies. Amidst fanatics, zealots, cannibals and villains, Just and Colombe can no longer be sure who is friend and who is foe, and soon learn they can take no-one for granted - not even each other. As the story builds to its dramatic climax, conquerors and conquered are - like Just and Colombe - forced to reconsider the nature and future of their relationship.
Jean-Christopher Rufin's The Abyssinian won France's Prix Mediterranee and Prix Goncourt for best first novel. A doctor and founder of the Nobel Peace Prize winning organization Medicins Sans Frontieres, Rufin has journeyed to many war-torn regions to administer aid, including Bosnia and Rwanda. He lives in France.