Skip to main content

Melbourne secretary Anna Emerson’s life is turned upside down when a stranger hands her a plane ticket to the Congo. The newly independent country is in turmoil, Simba rebels are on the move – but the invitation holds a precious clue to the whereabouts of her estranged father.

Dan Miller signs up as a mercenary commando to help fight the Communist uprising. He supports the cause, but that’s not really why he’s there. A devastating tragedy has taken all meaning from his life, and he’s got nothing left to lose.

In the Congo, Dan’s belief in the war begins to crumble. Anna heads deeper into danger as she travels from a grand colonial mansion to an abandoned hotel on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, to a leprosy mission in the jungle and beyond. The two paths collide through circumstances more extraordinary than fate.

Inspired by real events, Congo Dawn combines epic drama with an intimate journey into the heart of a fractured family, as two characters in search of people they have lost, at last find a way to come home. It is a landmark novel about good and evil, and the inexhaustible power of love.

Praise for Congo Dawn

'An emotionally powerful and richly evocative novel from one of Australia’s best-loved writers... an utterly compelling and absorbing read, with characters that you fall for and feel for... Congo Dawn is one to savour, a wonderful holiday read.' Cheryl Arkle, Better Reading

'A big novel with a potent narrative' Tom Keneally, Booker Prize-winning Australian novelist

'The author of The Rain Queen delivers a spellbinding new novel ... a portrait of a young woman searching for her roots, and a fascinating exploration of the history of the Belgian Congo in the 1960s.' Femme magazine

'This book has everything... a ripping yarn.’ Good Reading

'A page-turning adventure powered by a quest for love, identity and humanity amid the unique beauty of its African setting... Highly recommended …' Books + Publishing

'A top read... Scholes has done her homework with this one... If you can’t wait for Tony Park’s next African escapade, get Congo Dawn to tide you over.' Army (Australian Defence Forces magazine)

'Scholes captures this region of Africa in all its beauty... loaded with hidden messages that are slowly revealed... a fraught journey of heartbreak and danger... Like the ‘velvet jungle’ that forms an ever-powerful backdrop, Congo Dawn is layered and complex, textured and unshakeable.' Saturday Mercury

'This is an epic saga full of wonderful characters... An enjoyable story in a setting à la Karen Blixen.' Télé Loisirs

'A deep breath of romance set against a dramatic historical backdrop.' Voici

'The endearing characters and the exotic setting take us on a thrilling, emotional and instructive journey, deep into war-torn Congo.' Faim de lire

'A clever plot and a perfectly mastered historical setting result in a bewitching, emotional novel.' Dans les souliers d’Océane