A chef, a portraitist and a barber are taken hostage in a bloody coup to overthrow their boss, the President. They are held in a sparsely-furnished room, in a castle high above a nameless capital city. Far below them, chaos tears through the streets. The chef’s daughter, the portraitist’s wife and the barber’s lover watch their men from the shadows.
In such chaotic times, intimate relationships are as dangerous as political ones. As the old order collapses, so does the network of secrets and lies that hid the brutal truth about their own dark passions. Drawing her readers masterfully towards the novel’s devastating climax, Ceridwen Dovey reveals how humanity’s most atavistic impulses – vanity, obsession and vengeance – seethe, relentlessly, just beneath the veneer of civilization.
“A fable of the arrogance of power, beneath whose dreamlike surface swirl currents of complex sensuality.”
– JM Coetzee