It is 1963 and Kenya is on the verge of Uhuru - independence day.
The mighty British government has been toppled, and in the lull between the fighting and the new world, colonised and coloniser alike reflect on what they have gained and lost. In the village of Thabai, the men and women who live there have been transformed irrevocably by the uprising. Kihika, legendary rebel leader, was fatally betrayed to the whiteman. Gikonyo's marriage to beautiful Mumbi was destroyed when he was imprisoned, while her life has been shattered in other ways. And Mugo, brave survivor of the camps and now the village hero, harbours a terrible secret.
As we learn of their tangled histories, a masterly story of myth, rebellion, love, friendship and betrayal unfolds, confirming Ngugi's status as a giant of African writing.