In parched Port-la-Nouvelle in central Africa, Dr Mallory watches his clinic fail as constant warfare between a ragged band of guerrillas and the local chief of police causes the tribal residents to flee. In this drought-plagued and poverty-ridden country he dreams of discovering a third Nile to make the Sahara bloom.
During his search for water an ancient tree stump is accidentally uprooted and water wells up, spreading until it becomes an enormous river. Naming the river after himself, Mallory becomes obsessed with his creation. But almost as soon as he has discovered it he resolves to destroy it. With the once arid land now abounding in birds and beasts, he forges up-river in an old car ferry, clashing with hostile factions in a dangerous quest to find the source of his own creation. A mesmerising tale from a master storyteller, this is a spellbinding fable for our times.