Seventeen-year-old Riki is worried about school and the future, but mostly about his girlfriend, Gemma, who has suddenly stopped seeing or texting him. But on his way to see her, he's hit by a bus and his life radically changes. Riki wakes up one hundred years earlier in Egypt, in 1915, and finds he's living through his great-great-grandfather's experiences in the Maori Contingent. At the same time that Riki tries to make sense of what's happening and find a way home, we go back in time and read transcripts of interviews Riki's great-great-grandfather gave in 1975 about his experiences in this war and its impact on their family. Gradually we realise the fates of Riki and his great-great-grandfather are intertwined.
Whiti Hereaka (Ngati Tuwharetoa, Te Arawa) is a playwright, novelist, screenwriter, barrister and solicitor and has an MA in Creative Writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters. She has had many plays produced for the stage, and in 2012 she won the Bruce Mason Award. She has won several awards for her scriptwriting, including Best New Play by a Maori Playwright, Adam Play Awards in 2010 for Te Kaupoi and again in 2011 for Rona and Rabbit on the Moon. She also held a residency at the Michael King Writers' Centre in 2012 and 2017 and was International Writing Programme Writer in Residence, University of Iowa, in 2013. In 2007, she was the writer in residence at Randell Cottage and wrote her first novel, The Graphologist's Apprentice, which was shortlisted for Best First Book in the Commonwealth Writers Prize South East Asia and Pacific 2011. Her second novel, Bugs, won the Honour Award, Young Adult Fiction, New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, 2014, and the Storylines Notable Book Award, Senior Fiction, 2014.