This is a book about a murder. A book about prison, about the clash of cultures and about wild men. Karo was a wild man and a clever one and this book is an attempt to trace his life. It is the history of a Papuan man born in the early part of the twentieth century and follows the path that led him to the most horrible murders and finally to the gallows. An attempt also to understand why he had another, legendary life beyond the gallows. The author became interested in Karo Araua when she heard for the first time the 'Song about Karo', the poem in traditional form in which he was the hero. It was part of her interest in the colonial condition, which was stimulated when she read of the way the lives of those in gaol can throw a great deal of light on the lowly who are also illiterate. Particularly was this the case in colonial Papua where those who landed in gaol were likely to be a cross section of those villagers who came in contact with the white man's law, most of which they did not understand. Most writings about Papua New Guinea deal with the successful people who managed the colonial encounter. Karo, hanged in Port Moresby in 1938, was not successful, but his name lives on among his own people.