When Neil Cross was five years old, his mother left him. No note, no phone call, just an empty house and a brow-beaten father. Two years later, she came back for her son. She was not alone.
Neil's new step-father was a South-African white supremacist. He was a serial adulterer, a thief, a con man, a racist and a liar. And in many ways, he was the perfect father. In their backstreet Edinburgh slum, Derek Cross introduced Neil to Tom Sawyer, Kidnapped, and The Three Musketeers, and whilst his step-son battled violent anti-English racism everyday in the playground, Derek discovered a new way to isolate his family; he became a Mormon Bishop in the Church of the Latter Day Saints.
This is a story about being raised a racist and an outsider - and overcoming it; about family and step-family; about class and religion; and about how resentment breeds violence. And it's about what, in the end, the love of books can do for you.