“Beside the Golden Door” is based on the early life of Sir Winston Churchill and is a fictional account of his escape from a prisoner-of-war camp in December of 1899 during the Anglo-Boer War. The story disputes the reports of the time and in this version Churchill makes his escape by bicycle.
Winston Churchill is the war correspondent for the London Morning Post. His two companions are 'Apollo' and 'Hermes', private soldiers who rescue him, and whisk him across Africa to freedom. Other characters are members of the Medallion Society who operate an escape route and a mysterious baseball team of African Americans.
The story illustrates Churchill’s coming of age from a rather callow officer and aristocrat into a man of experience, tolerance and far-seeing ability. He spends the period of his escape and deliverance in the wilderness and grows in stature as a result. Like others who benefit from solitude, Churchill is given some insight into the future, and the parts that he will play as a statesman on the world stage. The story is really a journey through his early life, but one that he remembers all his days with nostalgia. He learns that this time on the veldt will be his last freedom before his eventual duty to the civilized world as a great man. During his journey he learns to face his 'Black Dog', a severe depression that revisits him throughout his life, especially while in high office.
After an accident on the way to the coast, he receives a detailed prediction from an African oracle that predicts his political frustrations, his years out of office, his responsibility for peoples' lives and his steadfastness in the face of a totalitarian enemy.
In the later chapters, Churchill meets and falls in love with the leader of the Medallion Society, Lady Kathleen Long-Carey, the wife of the British Consul in Laurenco Marques. She is a very strong, independent woman. The affair is brief but passionate and Churchill learns a year later that she has given birth to a child, Spencer.
He never sees Lady Kathleen again.