Not a tooth is knocked out, not a kidney bashed inÂ? an outstanding thriller that rests on less obvious grounds. The characters are odd but rarely violent. Their aims are bizarre and their methods usually unorthodox. Their story is one of strange and constantly maintained suspense, based on a journey from Dakar to the River Niger and up through the remotest part of West Africa to Timbuctoo. The writing is witty and urbane, and the result is a thriller with all the vividness and authenticity of a sinister travel guide.