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'Your ambition, Chira, don't let it die. Don't give up no matter the obstacles. I'll be happy wherever I am to know that you made it.' These are Chira's father's words to her from his hospital bed. Chira is the main character in THE FOURTH WORLD. She is an intelligent, hardworking, and soft-hearted young woman whose ambition is to rise above her deprived background by acquiring a good education.

Her father's sudden death truncates Chira's education before she finishes secondary school and places on her young shoulders the heavy burden of having to look after her ailing mother who will no longer do anything for herself. Chira is dispossessed of the family land that could have funded her education, and her request for a loan from her best friend's father is turned down.

With her ambition temporarily tucked away, Chira finds a job. Her salary is meagre but she must somehow stretch it to support the household and pay for her mother's medical treatment and inconsiderate demands. As Chira and her mother are about to be thrown out of their shanty for non-payment of rent, a possible saviour arrives in the shape of Maks, a wealthy but shadowy businessman. He covers the family debts and proposes marriage. Chira is torn between marrying this strange, possessive man and holding on to her dream - to continue her education and make something of herself, a pursuit she is sure this marriage will deny her.

Chira's eternal desire to be educated and self-reliant, her humiliating encounters with the wealthy people that cross her path, the disturbing traits she discovers in Maks, and his inexplicable behaviour the first time she visits him - all combine to make her seriously question the wisdom of marrying him. She finally makes a decision. Tragedy strikes again and a door opens. Will this door lead her to the fulfilment of her ambition or to more tragedies?

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