There is a small town in Ghana, W Africa which exists for no other reason than to mine gold. It was founded in the early twentieth century when a lucky strike sent people flocking to the site to find wealth and employment. Originally called “Andrews”, after the man who first struck gold, during independence the township was renamed “Strength Through Solidarity”, but more lately as “Lomax”, after the new mine owner, Lucky Lomax, a wealthy City tycoon.
The town is laid out higgledy piggledy and the houses are largely made of mud brick and corrugated iron, built without plum line or set square. Surrounding the town is jungle where live the Galamsey; African Hillbillies and illegal miners who practice Voodoo and periodically invade the mine to steal gold. To protect the mine there is a militia corps, armed with AK-47 rifles and armoured vehicles. A low level war rages between the mine authorities and the Galamsey, which periodically erupts into full-scale hostility.
Ghanaian geologists undertake the day to day running of the mine, but their orders come from a small elite of western engineers who are advised by outside consultants. There is tension amongst these different groups, exacerbated by Galamsey attacks and the activities of a militant miners’ union.
Into this world, Edryd (Ed) Evans arrives from his hilltop on the Welsh Borders. He is an experienced gold exploration geologist who has spent large amounts of time in West Africa. But he is wary of returning after being kidnapped and held hostage on his previous visit. He has come because an old friend, Greg Boston, has disappeared in mysterious circumstances.