Michael Niemann grew up in a small town in Germany, ten kilometers from the Dutch border. Crossing that border often at a young age sparked in him a curiosity about the larger world. He studied political science at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms Universität in Bonn and international studies at the University of Denver. During his academic career he focused his work on southern Africa and frequently spent time in the region. After taking a fiction writing course from his friend, the late Fred Pfeil, he embarked on a different way to write about the world.
UN fraud investigator Valentin Vermeulen is in Maputo, Mozambique, where an otherwise humdrum assignment allows him to rendezvous with his lover, journalist Tessa Bishonga. When he discovers that a nonprofit has mislaid $5 Million in UN funding, he doggedly pursues the matter, even though he and Tessa are now targets for some ruthless operators.