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On the islands of Java and Bali in the early 1980s, Western governments are pouring millions of dollars into development schemes even as Indonesian strongman President Suharto violently stifles dissent. For Canadian veterinarian Abner Dueck, the spice islands are an exotic locale for the seemingly mundane work of examining dead cows and working with old friends. Duecks life changes abruptly when some of the cows die under mysterious circumstances, and he meets a mysterious young Chinese woman; soon after, two of his friendsone Canadian and one Indonesianare murdered. Mennonite Dueck, marshalls the energy to battle Indonesian politics and the attempts of local businessmen, military rulers, and international advisors to manipulate development projects to their own ends. And to unravel the mysterious deaths of both cattle and people, Dueck must first understand the long shadow that the 1966 massacres cast on Indonesian life, as well as the complexities of their music, and the demands and intrigues of love and conspiracy, death and mystery, and of course, cultural heritage and personal identity.

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