In 1837, two young African princes arrive in Holland. At the invitation of Dutch emissaries to West Africa, the king of the Ashanti has sent his son and nephew to receive the blessings of a European education. But unbeknownst to the king, the boys are to become pawns in the brutal game of the illicit slave trade. As they enter a dreamlike, sometimes violent, altogether bewildering world, moving from a Dutch boarding school and its terrors to the Dutch royal court, their common experience will pull the once inseparable cousins onto divergent paths. For the one called Kwame, the new life will be his undoing. Enlisting in the Dutch colonial army, he will return to the land of his ancestors to face a truth that will destroy him. But Kwasi will awaken more slowly, spending a lifetime convinced he has found a place in a world not his own. Only in the year 1900, reconstructing his past through an intricate series of flashbacks as his light begins to fade on a barren coffee plantation in Indonesia, will he discover the extent of his self-deceptions. A feat of literary ventriloquism reminiscent of Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day, Arthur Japin's internationally acclaimed first novel, based on an astonishing true story, is a fully original exploration of the meaning of friendship, belonging and honor.