Despite its many shortcomings, this is a highly entertaining and engrossing read. Ferguson is perhaps best known as a travel writer, and to some extent this is a travel book. On the other hand, it's a modern-day cautionary tale about the well known sort of internet based scams originating in places such as Nigeria. It's also a story about family, loss, extreme environmental degradation, greed, exploitation, love and the search for revenge. That's a lot for one book, perhaps a little too much and Ferguson takes quite a while to draw the disparate strands of his story together. Of all his characters, only Nnamdi, whom we first meet as a little village boy and follow into manhood if fully drawn and extremely likeable. Even Laura, who is ostensibly the main protagonist, is a bit sketchy and her exploits in Africa require a good deal of suspension of disbelief -- in the real world, anyone taking the steps that she did would almost certainly have ended up gruesomely dead.
It's essentially just an adventure story; yet it does succeed in exploring some of the ambiguities of first-world versus third-world realities and raises the question of who the real criminals are.

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