In the last years of the twentieth century, Richard Lloyd Parry found himself in the vast island nation of Indonesia, one of the most alluring, mysterious and violent countries in the world. For thirty-two years it had been paralysed by the grip of the dictator and mystic General Suharto. But now the age of Suharto was reaching its end, giving way to a new era of chaos and superstition - the 'time of madness' predicted centuries before by poets and seers. On the island of Borneo, tribesmen embarked on a savage war of head-hunting and cannibalism. Vast jungles burned uncontrollably; money lost its value; there were plane crashes and volcanic eruptions. After the tumultuous fall of Suharto came the vote of independence from Indonesia for the tiny occupied country of East Timor. And it was here, trapped in the besieged compound of the United Nations, that Lloyd Parry reached his own painful, personal crisis.