Leo Painter is the CEO of Earth Global, a large energy, mining and real-estate development firm. He and his party of company executives are traveling in Botswana to consult with the government of Botswana about accessing their extractable resources.
Sekoa is a male lion who shares with his bipedal enemies, the misfortune to be the bearer of HIV/AIDs. Weakened by the disease, he loses his place as the alpha male in his pride and now, dying and harassed by a pack of hyenas, seeks only a place to rest in peace.
Painter, pursued by his own "hyenas", only wishes to find a last resting place where he can further his dream: to build a resort/casino on Botswana's Chobe River.
Their paths cross with tragic consequences as police, a plucky woman game warden, and myriad local authorities, hoteliers, and tribesmen, vie over what happened and to whom.
Through parallel stories, Ramsay's clever stand-alone shows the ruthlessness of the business and the animal worlds without resorting to gimmickry. Sekoa, an aging, mortally ill lion, is being forced out by younger rivals and hyenas on the Botswana plains. Meanwhile, Leo Painter, a Chicago energy czar with a bad heart, is up against ambitious employees and greedy relatives. While Sekoa stands up to his rivals, Painter and his entourage come to Botswana to build a resort/casino. Painter's callous nature has alienated him from his stepson, Bobby Griswold, who has "the brains of a guppy," and Bobby's wife, Brenda, a former stripper. Painter's business plan would leave the Griswolds without any money, but not, the couple learns, if the old man dies first and his will remains intact. Ramsay (Impulse) matches keen characterizations with an obvious affection for Botswana, a complicated country that's more than Alexander McCall Smith's "quaint mysteries," as one character observes.