In some respects this book reminds you of both Conrad's Journey into the Heart of Darkness and Greene's novels set in colonial jungles. But this has a more sinister edge. You know that not all is as it seems and as Sanders gets closer to meeting his former mistress in the jungles of a former French colony the silence, mistrust and strange behaviour starts to creep into the narrative.
What is happening finally becomes clear as the jungle starts to demonstrate the effects of crystallisation. Sanders is a leprosy specialist and in turn nature seems diseased and suffering from the impact of some strange process. The natural conclusion to draw is that the local diamond mines have somehow infected the landscape but as Sanders gets closer to the source of the outbreak something different is happening and it has the ability to change everything in its path.
Crystal skinned crocodiles try to break through crystallised streams past glittering trees. Plus this is also happening in the swamps of Florida and somewhere in Russia. Sitting on Sanders shoulder you go into the heart of the jungle and some of the mysteries start to unfold.