While many people have heard of the battle at Rorke’s Drift, (featured in the film Zulu) and the one at Isandlwana that preceded it, few outside of South Africa know of an earlier and equally bloody conflict. Under a tyrannical king, the Zulu nation defended its territory with ruthless efficiency against white settlers. Only a naïve English vicar, with his family and some translators are permitted to live in the king’s capital. It is into this cleric’s household that Thomas Flashman finds himself, as a most reluctant guest.
Listening to sermons of peace and tolerance against a background of executions and slaughter, Thomas is soon fleeing for his life, barely a spearpoint ahead of regiments of fearsome warriors. He is to learn that there is a fate even worse than his own death before being pitched in with Boers and British settlers as they fight a cunning and relentless foe. Thomas strives for his own salvation, before discovering that chance has not finished with him yet.