After the Swartberg Pass is washed away by a flood, that cuts Albertsburg off from the rest of the country, Judge Miriam O’Higgins attempts to save the town from J.M. Coetzee’s corrupt Warrant Officer Mandel – now risen to the position of police captain. Armed with only the law and the help of a few characters from Joseph Conrad, Albert Camus and Damon Galgut, she fails to convince the town that the arrest of a man called ‘the engineer’ is simply an alibi for a broader political game. Her failure results in ruinous consequences for her and the dorp.
M Blackman is acknowledged to have edited these manuscripts. M seems to have been born in Albertsburg in 1975 [or 1995]. How he or she escaped the disaster at Albertsburg is not known. It is possible M left the district some months before the terrorist attack. According to a letter (and one reference in the book to an ‘Em’) M’s aunt was Jean Albertson, one of the story’s narrators and co-editor.