- Virginia Johnson
In the year 2194, there are three Zimbabwes. There is the Zimbabwe of the rich such as the luxurious compound of General Amadeus Matsika, the country's Chief of Security. His children, Tendai, Rita, and Kuda want for nothing. The robots take care of all their needs, and the Mellower, the house poet, makes everyone feel so much better when he sings their Praises in The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm by Nancy Farmer.
In another part of the city dwells the woman who is called the She-Elephant. She has her own compound, her own kingdom, in the abandoned waste dump. She has her servants, too. Fist and Knife are good for running errands-- a little thieving here, a little kidnapping there... When they find Matsika's children by themselves in downtown Harare, the opportunity for profit is just too good to let go.
13-year-old Tendai didn't want to take his brother and sister along on his first trip into the city, but little sisters and brothers somehow always get their own way. As the eldest, he tried to be responsible for them, but who could have known that a talk with a smart-mouthed blue monkey would lead to their enslavement? The She-Elephant will take her time to find just the right buyer for the children, but while they wait they must work for their food, tunneling through the garbage to find that precious substance that no one makes anymore-- plastic!
Across town and down a junky alley, a limousine pulls up in front of The Ear, the Eye and the Arm Detective Agency. With her children missing, General Matsika's beautiful wife is determined to find them so into the limo jump the Ear whose giant ears can catch any sound, the Eye who can see far and small, and the Arm, who, besides having a long and spiderlike arms and legs, can feel everyone's emotions and sometimes knows what's going to happen.
Mutants they are and lifelong friends, all coming from the same village whose contaminated water supply led to their strange powers.
The hunt is on, and it's up to Tendai to lead his family to safety or the detectives to find them before they meet a horrible fate in the clutches of the Masks, a secret society that has sworn revenge on General Matsika. Before the story's played out, the ancient spirits of the Shona tribe will show themselves, whether on that third part of Zimbabwe, the cultural preserve called Resthaven or in the glitzy Mile-High MacIlwaine Hotel.