Only in the heart of Africa can the heart of a surgeon change.
Dr. Malcolm Hartford promises to join his family on a grand vacation in East Africa before his daughter leaves for college. He cannot escape the hospital, though, until he finishes the most challenging case of his career. Sleep-deprived, burnt-out, mentally and physically exhausted, he finds rejuvenation among the wild plains and peoples of the Masai Mara.
Guided by a wilderness-savvy Maasai guide, the Hartfords (Malcolm, his wife, son, and daughter), unlock the secrets of the tooth-and-claw African plains, witnessing rituals and events that make their California world seem distant and unreal. As a pride of lions slaughters a Cape buffalo, a hippo defends its baby from a hungry croc, and a bull elephant dies mysteriously, the family strengthens its bonds through shared adventures and revelations.
In the land of the Maasai, the Hartfords become an integral part of the intersection of man and nature at its most raw. They steal honey from African bees, perform surgery in crude conditions, and participate in a circumcision ceremony with hundreds of warriors. The experience transforms them, calling forth ancestral memories buried deep within their DNA.
When the travelers encounter a gang of poachers, though, the vacation descends into catastrophe. Malcolm must use every bit of training a lifetime of running and operating have lent him. Even on returning to the United States, Kenya leaves its mark, both for good and evil. A fathomless love powers him to save his family in Africa. Only their faith and trust can help him choose between life and oblivion at home.
"An ambitious story, full of action and realistic dialogue, featuring a dynamic central character. Some of Vanstrum's finest writing to date."
--John A. Murray; author of more than 40 books, including Cinema Southwest and The Sierra Club Nature Writing Handbook