It is Cape Town, in the year 1899. Diamond tycoon Cecil Rhodes believes that he has only months to live, and that the only thing that can save him is the sound of English birdsong. He recruits Francis Wills to transport 200 birds to Cape Town, but on arrival the birds refuse to sing. This is but the first obstacle for Wills, who finds himself irresistibly drawn to intrigue, in a country on the brink of war.
Ann Harries was born and educated in Cape Town, where she worked in township schools and community centres. On moving to England she became active in the anti-apartheid movement. She divides her time between the Cotswolds and South Africa.