Gillian Slovo brings a freshness and insight to the well-known story of General Gordon and the Siege of Khartoum. Forget Charlton Heston and Laurence Olivier. This is the story of a real man - stubborn, determined, difficult, uncompromising and somehow heroic - and of some of the people who get caught up in his obsession, both British and Sudanese.
Withdrawing the finger: he said, 'General Gordon is also caged, in Khartoum, and without a loving woman to tend him. But what sets the General apart from this canary, as well as from any other bird or beast, is that were you to open the door to his cage, he would not fly away. The General is pure nobility, not only of breeding, but, more importantly, of purpose. In telegrams and messages smuggled out of the city, he has made it clear that he will not leave until every man, no matter how humble his station, who has expressed a desire to be free of the Sudan, may also leave.'