Hiking through Switzerland, Jeremy learns of his father's past. Abandoned and left to go wild in war-torn Hong Kong, Jude is rescued by his wayward father Matthew. He tames his wild spirit and brings him back to England for a conventional education. A recovered Jude dreams of a university education following his passion. This falls apart as Matthew runs out of funds, but a resourceful Jude finds his way back to science and meets first wife Suzy, Jeremy's biological mother.
Jude then tells of a time, working as junior atomic scientist in Ghana. His existence is put to the test when pitted against the paranoia of both a world learning to cope with its nuclear future and a wife losing track as schizophrenia took hold. At the same time, Jude sees this paranoia replicated in Ghanaian society whose leadership become increasingly totalitarian. The scenes counterpoint with an alternative viewpoint of Donqua, Jude's servant and his erstwhile nephew Kwasi who confront this brave new world.
Mahogany Rose has as its background the horrific nuclear race of the 1960s when realization dawned that science could not be a religion, rather that it could possibly threaten the human race.