The sequel opens a few minutes
before the end of the first volume and, indeed, the dialogue in the
first 1,500 words is identical in both stories – although the
narrative is modified to suit an opening chapter.
Aleck and Emma make their way
through the forest to a cave hide out that Emma has previously
prepared against the possibility of flight and where they succeed in
living for the week that they have been told they must wait before
contacting the guerrilla cell that controls the safe house. When they
leave, they foolishly return to a hut formerly used by the guerrilla
leader. It is under surveillance and Emma is shot and wounded.
Nevertheless, they get away and succeed in kidnapping a security
agent whose car they hi jack. They force him to assist them in
their flight. Eventually, they manage to reach the safe house and
become involved in plans to hi jack an aircraft so that
guerrilla casualties can be evacuated to the Leading Light HQ located
south of the equatorial zone, an area almost impassable without air
transport. In the attack on the airport, both Aleck and Emma are
badly injured but the guerrillas succeed in reaching their
headquarters located in a warren of caves and tunnels in the foot of
an extinct volcano.
It turns out that it was Emma
who triggered the bomb that killed Edward Teach, the governor in the
first volume, and there is a chapter devoted to her exploring with
Aleck her motivation, including her mother’s having been seduced by
Teach, her father’s having been executed at his behest and Emma
herself, while still a small child, having been subjected to abuse by
him. Emma, we discover, was subsequently adopted by parents she loves
but she is, nevertheless, tormented by the death of the governor. He
was killed to protect Leading Light, she says, but she enjoyed taking
revenge even though she believes that revenge is wrong.
The guerrilla base is attacked
from the air and a number of people, including their friend, James,
are killed. Aleck and Emma join an expedition to replace a radio
relay station on which the guerrillas’ communications with their
colleagues in the North vitally depend – a project which requires a
hazardous ten week journey on foot through the mountains and deserts
of the equatorial zone and which brings about the deaths of several
of the party through the stress of the journey and as a result of
attacks by government forces. Aleck and Emma, however, manage to
return to base as the only survivors.
Aleck’s awareness of his own
sexuality and Emma’s response to this are gently developed.