The action begins in Mombassa where stolid and uncomplicated Captain Jimmy Antrim of the King’s African Rifles is hired by Mr & Mrs Rawley to escort them on safari into German East Africa. The Rawleys are an unlikely couple: she the daughter of an obscure Cornish peer, loyal but ineffective, he new rich (Rawley’s Chemical Dip), awkward, jealous and (it later emerges) prone to outbursts of drunken violence. In the heat and confusion of the bush the drama, into which this unpromising trio are launched, unfolds. The native porters run away; tensions and fears increase; relationships strain and break; allegiances alter. Woodsmoke convincingly evokes the sights, smells and mysteries of East Africa, which Francis Brett Young experienced during his war service in the Tanga campaign of 1916.