Chapter 1The Strange Twist of History
This was where the thread first came into view, an old stone palace miles up a rutted dirt track, alone in the gum resin trees and elephant grass. We parked next to the wives’ quarters, a small village of soot-blackened walls and peaked zinc roofs. Young men in frayed clothes guided us through a twisting corridor to the king’s court. My friend Walter and I waited on benches until the eighty-year-old king, the fon,
beckoned us from his wood throne in the fading gray light. We crossed the courtyard in an extended bow. The fon,
wearing a black skullcap and...