Skin of the Snake: A Story of Fraud and Friendship and Africa

Skin of the Snake: A Story of Fraud and Friendship and Africa

by Steven Langdon

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Overview

At the heart of "Skin of the Snake" is an epic battle launched by two strong and vibrant women, Patricia Chisepo (a passionate young African) and Jackie Petsky (an assertive Canadian activist,) to punish a large international corporation for its corruption in a huge water diversion project in Lesotho in southern Africa.

All of the project's water flows go to South Africa, and none reach drought-ridden Lesotho itself.

As Patricia and Jackie carry forward their fight, they find themselves connecting with other allies - and with a group of former friends who knew each other well through a Gourmet Food Club formed over 20 years earlier. That group has scattered, with some now working like Patricia and Jackie on social justice concerns, and several caught up in the corporate world. The different personal connections that were there in the Gourmet Club play out in the story, and ultimately become critical in shaping how the anti-corruption struggle finishes.

Especially crucial is the personal choice that must be made by Rosie Ahmed - a feisty woman now working on conservative Bay Street, whose background lies in outsider prairie culture. Which loyalties will she honour when she testifies to the World Bank in its insulated Washington boardroom?

This is a colourful story, full of humour and on-the-ground experience from Africa and North America -- driven by the suspense and uncertainty of high-stakes conflict.

The novel also mirrors real world dilemmas. The corporate corruption story is a fictionalized version of an actual set of events that shook southern Africa in the 1995-2008 period. Too often, corruption in Africa is painted as a result of the venality of officials there -- the role of foreign companies in promoting and organizing fraud deserves more attention.

But can two brave women overcome the wealth and power of a strong company, with tight links to its home government? Will high spirits and wry determination be enough to win -- with the help of friendships from the past?

"Skin of the Snake" is a dramatic story about fighting international corruption. The book also provides sharp insights into the politics of change. But above all, this is a novel about personal commitments and passions and how these connect with the real world of Africa and North America.

The author has the experience and grassroots knowledge to write this story with wit and understanding that will capture the imagination of readers and keep them immersed. Steven Langdon's background as a journalist for Canada's largest newspaper means this is a novel with sharp-edged writing and gripping characters.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781461066682
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 05/09/2011
Pages: 276
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.58(d)

About the Author

As a journalist for Canada's largest newspaper, the Toronto Star, Steven Langdon began reporting from southern and eastern Africa -- and he has since lived and worked in the continent for years. What began as a job has taken over his life, as he has built family ties and friendships throughout Africa.

"Most important," says Steven, "I've been able to connect with thriving, vibrant African community groups who are winning results for people on the ground from Senegal to Malawi. Their spirit pushed me to write this novel."

In his work in Africa, Steven Langdon has helped support African groups working against corruption. He brings his expertise on this subject to this novel, and to understanding the severe challenges of countering fraud.

"I've known people like Patricia well," Steven says, "and admire how they stay vibrant and optimistic despite the heavy odds they face. They don't win as often as they should, but they keep fighting!

"The human context that helps them keep going, the complex way that allies connect to their fight -- all this makes for a lively and thoughtful story."

Steven Langdon lived and worked in Eastern Africa as an economist and researcher, earning his D.Phil. from the University of Sussex in the UK and becoming an Associate Professor of Economics at Carleton University in Canada. He later returned to work in Southern and Eastern Africa and was appointed an Associate Director of the International Development Research Centre.

In 1984 he was elected to Canada's House of Commons as M.P. for Essex Windsor and became chair of a special sub-committee to review and improve World Bank aid policy.

After leaving Parliament in 1993, Langdon became Associate Professor of Development at Trent University, where he launched a project to connect Ghana and Canada university students with local community groups throughout Ghana.

Steven Langdon's writing has been published widely in various countries. He also wrote a blog on development for the Governance Village website. In 1999, his book "Global Poverty, Democracy and North-South Change" was published by Garamond Press; his first book "Multinational Corporations in the Political Economy of Kenya" was published by Macmillan Press in 1981. "Skin of the Snake" is Steven Langdon's first novel, drawing on his wide experience of Africa and of the politics of working for change.

Steven is married to Shirley Seward, and has two sons and two daughters.

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