Whilst hiking through Switzerland, Jeremy Dixon is told secrets of his father's past. Jude tells of a time before he became a Hong Kong banker, a life working as junior atomic scientist in Ghana with first wife Suzy. He tells how his existence was 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 manservant and his erstwhile nephew Kwasi who also confronts the 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 and possibly was a threat to the human race.