The ennui-afflicted heir to a deposed European throne returns to his father's house in West London to find that the neighbourhood has become a slum. An ornithologist ill at ease with others, he finds his spy-glass wandering from birds to observe his neighbours. Strictly an observer at first, he increasingly becomes agitated as their lives are blighted by violence, poverty, and injustice. In particular he is moved by the plight of young Salambo Mardi and her family, beset by the rapist shopkeeper Kowalski and the pimp Jasper.
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