Well researched book about Africa - Sudan. Reader certainly gains much background knowledge regarding the cultures and the causes of the long wars there. (Text makes you angry and depressed at times because of the gross injustices depicted.) The reader also gains insight on the workings and limitations of relief organizations.
The fiction and characters are blended into the factual setting. The problem with the novel is the length. It's over 650 pages. After 150 pages, I had a realistic sense of the suffering/war in Sudan and the fiction itself wasn't that compelling - so I gave up on this book.
If you have plenty of time, the novel is probably worth completing.