Schulman’s second story takes place 60 years later when a brilliant PhD is approached by a pharmaceutical company intent on locating a vine that grows in Africa, which may revolutionize the treatment of stroke. Despite the social limitations of her Asperger’s diagnosis, Max, a woman, eagerly accepts the company’s offer and takes off for a remote research station in the Congo. As she gets to know the other researchers and begins searching for the mysterious vine, Max also meets a gorilla family, whose behaviors she is able to read more astutely than she can humans. As political events turn violent and the gorillas face the growing danger of encroaching humanity — Max has to reexamine her loyalties.
The cast of characters is wonderful. Otombe, the wise native hunter who shows Jeremy how to track lions. Dubois, a French biologist determined to save the gorillas, no matter what the cost. Yoko, a researcher who is subtly trying to undermine Max’s pharmaceutical work. Then throw in some hunger, malaria, tribes with armed children, and a few brain-eating worms. It’s quite an amazing story.
More about the author, Audrey Schulman.