This gripping new military adventure featuring Simon Fonthill brilliantly depicts one of the last and most tragic of all battles in the 'Scramble for Africa'. 1893. In the African Cape, recovering from the loss of their child, ex-captain and one-time subaltern Simon Fonthill and his wife Alice find themselves on tribal land and at the mercy of Matabele warriors.
While being held under the orders of the Matabele king, Lobengula, Fonthill becomes aware of a Portuguese plot to undermine a valuable mining treaty between Lobengula and the richest man in Africa, Cecil Rhodes.
When friction develops between Rhodes and the Matabele tribesmen Fonthill is forced to take sides and, together with comrade '352' Jenkins and Alice, he becomes embroiled in one of the bloodiest battles in British history, the Shangani River massacre.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 448 pages
- Publisher: Headline Publishing Group
- Publication Date: 02/09/2010
- Category: Historical fiction
- ISBN: 9780755345625
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Review by DWWilkin
Another look at Africa with Jenkins 352 and Simon Fonthill. With Simon's wife as well. This time we see a seedier side of the Victorian British land grab, and how Cecil Rhodes manipulates the less sophisticated and worldly wise natives.Most of the book sets us up for a long view of what was occurring and because of that, we don't have a good time scale, nor a map in this book. Both of which would have helped. The action, and instead of fighting to protect the empire, but in this case, expand the empire, is the last 20% of the story, instead of all bound throughout.Not that there isn't action, or that there are not enemies. This time, we do not have the usual bumbling and fumbling Victorian Officer that has existed before to use their pride to thwart Fonthill's directness in doing what is right.In some sense that is better, because in every operation before, always have a fool above Simon to thwart him as seemed too much. Simon has been at this long enough that he is recognized as an expert. And that should be played on more. That, and a next generation to hand off what he and Jenkins have learned to. The series continues to hold my attention, well written, and the characters are consistent and endearing. A very good addition to the historical novel canon.