Firstly I wish to thank Charlie Howell Marketing Coordinator of Olympia Publishers for inviting me to read and review this book.
King Buthereze has died and Winston, his ten-year-old son, is next in line for the Masraland throne. Chief Inspector Elliott Ratsumbe, however, has other plans – wicked plans. Emma has been Winston’s nurse since birth and is determined to protect her charge.
Across the border in South Africa, a chance meeting with an ex-mercenary leads Peter Kruger on an audacious plan to steal a rare blue diamond from the palace in Masraland. Arriving at the compound to find a coup underway, he ends up diverting his plans to something more life threatening and dangerous. A simple but daring task turns into two weeks of turmoil.
HERE ARE MY THOUGHTS AND REVIEW
I love to read stories about other countries and cultures and Rod Wells not only took me to Masraland, a small thriving country across the border from South Africa, but also a step back in time. When King Buthereze died suddenly, all hell broke loose within a very short time. Now this is a gripping story but it took quite a few things to come together or should I say mishaps and bad timings because things certainly didn’t go to plan.
There was a coup brewing but in order to over throw the Royal family and government to take power, Chief Inspector Ratsumbe had to convince others to back him and to be honest he could have probably done with a bit more time. It wasn’t as if the King was expected to die or anything and of course he needed to get rid of the new heir to the throne too. Prince Winston was only a ten-year old boy but his thirty year old nanny Emma had brought him up from being a baby and she was quite a formidable character to come up against.
But there is more, Peter Kruger’s background is briefly but well covered in early chapters, but with enough that I could grasp why he was the bitter and resentful man that he had become. He is offered a deal by a pretty rough diamond sort of bloke, Jim, not someone who you would make eye contact with if you could help it. But Jim wanted something from Peter, he wanted him to steal a diamond. The Imperial Africa Star had been given to the King’s ancestors by Queen Victoria as a thank you for standing by the British Army during the Boer War. It was extremely rare being a blue diamond. Peter took little persuasion and a deal was struck.
Now all the elements are ready to come together and it is like someone put all their well laid plans in a bag and shuck them up because what they got was quite a tangled muddle. Peter Kruger would be the first person to say he is prejudice against anyone that hadn’t the same colour skin as himself so when he ends up with Prince Winston and his Nanny in tow, he is none too happy about being a reluctant hero, and where the heck is the Diamond? What follows is a treacherous journey through every sort of terrain that the country could throw at them. It isn’t just a life or death chase but one of self discovery too.
Rod Wells gave me the fascinating history of the countries and cultures that I did not know much about. The story was extremely engaging with at times that brilliant adrenaline rush that made moments that I held my breath, not only because of the human pursuers but also from the wild animals that they came across on their escape. It is a pretty good author that can change my mind of how I feel about a character but I thawed out to Peter. Apart from the background information, the whole story is set over a two-week period and all of these people lives change.
A totally entertaining all round read. I wish to thank Olympia Publishers for this book which I have reviewed honestly.
HERE IS A LITTLE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rod Wells was born in Warwick, England and emigrated, as a 10 year old, with his family, to Southern Rhodesia in 1950s colonial Africa. During the following years his passion for all aspects of motoring and motorsport were fulfilled until the changing face of Africa caused an inevitable return to England in the late 1970’s.
Rod has written and published two books, the first of which is ‘The Part Time War’. (Fern House 2011). This book reminisces on life in 1970’s Rhodesia, fighting a full blown terrorist war on a part time basis. The highs, the lows, the camaraderie and the humour are all included.
It gives an insight into the life of an ordinary civilian removed from the comforts and security of everyday life and thrust into the dangers and stresses of a war situation. If one was deemed reasonably fit, every male up to the age of fifty was required to serve in one of the security units for blocks of time during the year. Training was minimal and disruption to work and family life was inevitable. It made life for adult males in Rhodesia during the conflict very strange to say the least.
‘Strip Roads and Sports Cars’ (Fern HOuse 2013) is a second book and recounts the three decades of motoring life in Southern Africa which can be described as the ‘Golden Era’ or motoring.
Relating personal memories, the journey weaves its way through the recollections of a motoring enthusiast who first discovered the fascination of the motor car as a child.
There are tales of under-age driving; discovering old, but fascinating cars; escapades in his first sports car; modifying MGs and a Cooper S for competition and completely restoring a rare ex-works Austin Healey 100S.
There are many other compelling recollections of a motoring life in Africa, but in the background there is a continual warning of impending political change threatening the free and easy life style.
Rod Wells lives in Cambridge with his wife Vi.