Author(s): Dan Sleigh (tr from Afrikaans, Andre Brink)
For the indigenous peoples of the Dutch settlement of the Cape, it is the beginning of the end of a way of life; its seasons and rhythms, its harshness and abundance. Pieternella is the daughter of the first 'mixed' marriage of the new colony and it is she who becomes the pivot of all the action in this unforgettable epic. Through the life stories of seven men - all involved with and defined in one way or another by Pieternella - the reader is offered an understanding of the vast historical forces at work in the shaping of the world in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Each of these brings a whole new geography, a new dimension of experience, into the novel. Behind these 'little men' loom the ones who apparently take the decisions, the commanders and governors and captains and the still greater, more shadowy, potentates, the Lords Seventeen who are in charge of the Dutch East India Company. For it is the Company that ultimately decides the fate of all the millions ruled by it; it is as inexorable, and as mindlessly cruel, as Nature itself.