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The novel periscopes two prejudices, both rooted in slavery and race. A disturbed young American, Tim Forester travels to an African village to interrogate a story that he descends from a black woman in the slavery era. A black beauty, Alero, is ostracised by the village elite because her ancestors were labelled as champions of the slave trade era. Tim is told that the family ancestor’s grave lies in a forest. Alero also hears that her dead mother, who was called a crocodile as a way to stigmatise her family as slave dealers, always had a locket believed to be in the forest. Both believe the truth is in a forbidden forest known as “the forest of silence.” Tim and Alero confront their pasts and prejudices and what happens to them turns the village into a commotion of revelations that rile young and old, and expose centuries of elite hypocrisy and fear.