Keita Ali is on the run.
Desperate to flee Zantoroland, a mountainous island that produces the fastest marathoners in the world, Keita Ali signs on with notorious marathon agent Anton Hamm, who provides him with a chance to run the Boston marathon in return for a huge cut of the winning purse.
But when Keita fails to place among the top finishers, rather than being sent back to his own country, he goes into hiding in Freedom State—a wealthy nation that has elected a government bent on deporting the refugees living within its borders in the community of AfricTown. Keita can only be safe if he keeps moving and eludes Hamm and the officials who would deport him to his own country, where he will face almost certain death.
This is the new underground. A place where tens of thousands of people deemed to be “illegal” live below the radar of the police and government officials.
As Keita surfaces from time to time to earn cash prizes by running local road races, he has to assess whether the people he meets are friends or enemies: John Falconer, a gifted student intent on making a documentary about AfricTown; Ivernia Beech, an elderly woman who is at risk of being forced into an assisted living facility; Rocco Stanton, a recreational marathoner who is the Immigration Minister; Lula DiStefano, self-declared Queen of AfricTown and Madame of the community’s infamous brothel; and Viola Hill, one of the only black reporters in the country, who is investigating the possibility of corruption linking the highest officials in Freedom State and Zantoroland.
Keita’s very existence in Freedom State is illegal. As he trains in secret, eluding capture, the stakes keep getting higher. Soon, he is running not only for his life, but his sister’s life, too.
Fast-moving and compelling,
The Illegal addresses the fate of an undocumented refugee who struggles to survive in a nation that does not want him.