On an Island life is changing from the traditional to the modern with the help of western influence: The people of the Island are not altogether happy to have their traditional ways of living corrupted but are all too ready to take the best of what is being offered and use it to their own advantage.
Corruption is becoming wide spread and the man behind the early development of the Island begins to realise that his life is becoming poorer for all the greed he has helped create. He realises that before it is too late he must do something to correct the wrong he has created.
A triple murder takes place in a village some miles from the centre of the Island. The Government official sent to try and solve the murder is due to retire soon and thinks that this will be an easy case to sort out but begins to discover, on his way to the village, that perhaps his life could be lived differently. He stops to help a woman on the side of the road, taking her to the temple she is trying to reach to ask for blessing to help find her lost daughter; something an official of his standing should never do.
A hired driver, driving the Government official, grieving for his own loss but all to ready to follow the western style of life to advance his own causes, sneers at the hand which helps and feeds him, all the while questioning his rights to have more.
All this and more is bought about by what could be a “Tear in the sky”, a superstition held by the Island people that if there is a tear in the sky all will change. They also have a firm belief that there are “Night Watchers ‘which guard and watch over them and will support and protect until the dawn of the new day.
How it all comes together makes for a very interesting, tantalising read. Rothwell has very skilfully drawn on places and traditions which will seem familiar but like the story will remain just out of reach, teasing at the edges of the mind.
Each character in the story appears to be unrelated but somehow makes up the sum of the whole: if you look carefully at the story woven in between the lines is a very simple message about life and the patterns which are being established in today’s societies.
Intriguing, enjoyable and very different.