In this collection of related short stories, the main character Dan Collins is working for the U.S. Agency for International Development in Sarawak in western Borneo. It is in the early 1960s, and the British colonial regime has recently turned Sarawak over to the new government of Malaysia. Collins, attempting literally to build roads in this very difficult place, has encounters with Chinese terrorists, Muslim Malay head men, tribal Iban head hunters, marauding chickens, British ex-colonial officers, Australian counter-insurgency troops, monsoon rain, scorpions, other Americans and a host of physical and emotional difficulties caused by the deep jungle in which he lives. The New England Review of Books said that "this book far outdistances anything like it to appear in years". The San Francisco Chronicle said that "reading it is a memorable experience".
Terence gives an overview of the book:
"It's simply a matter of exchanging something I knew about, was familiar with, nine to five, office, chair. . ." He sat down on a stair and rested his hands on his knees. "For something I just couldn't imagine."
From time to time a kind of elation, like a wash of fine color, swept through Collins's heart. It happened at moments when he felt convinced he had made a successful choice somewhere, that his senses had led him to a unique change. He could not explain it, except that it surged through him without qualification. Possibly it was love, he thought. Some grand feeling reserved for very few, and very seldom reserved at all.
Mercury House and Ballantine Books published three of my novels, all to high critical praise. My latest novel A Kiss For Señor Guevara was published in July, 2010. A collection of stories titled Little Bridget and The Flames of Hell was published this...