When its two principal actors, Nelson Mandela and F. W. de Klerk, received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, the world celebrated a shared ideal of peace and respect for human rights. But behind the famous journey that brought these historic adversaries together lies an even more dramatic story, which Allister Sparks reveals in a gripping narrative that begins four years before Mandela's release from prison in February 1990. Secret meetings between senior government officials and their most famous political prisoner began in 1986; there followed the decision of the fiercely Afrikaner Broederbond, a secret and powerful brotherhood, to abandon apartheid and open clandestine negotiations with the African National Congress; South African intelligence agents slipped undercover to Switzerland to negotiate terms for a new multi-racial government. The friendships that amazingly evolved made all the difference when South Africa struggled through the next years of multi-party negotiations and bloody political conflict. Sparks's brilliant - and news-breaking - analysis shows how a chain of crises affected political progress in those years; why violence flourished and whether the government was complicitous in it; what the new roles of Buthelezi and the Communist Joe Slovo became. He concludes with a superb assessment of "ten reasons for optimism" about South Africa under its first truly democratic government.