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This NOVEL is set predominantly in the mid to late '70's when the Rhodesian Bush War was at its height, before the Lancaster House agreement and the birth of Zimbabwe. 

The winds of change are blowing through Africa and like clouds, lives are being fragmented, altered or blotted out in an instant. 

It is the story of Andy Mason, a decorated and respected Special Forces combatant in the Rhodesian SAS. His journey takes the reader back in time from the horror of war with the stench of burnt cordite and sudden death to Andy as a schoolboy discovering the beauty and dangers of Africa for the first time on a trip to Northern Rhodesia in the '60s. We follow Mason's rise as an ambitious young financial executive and the sequence of uncanny events, amid high-flying fraud and corruption in the concrete jungle of Johannesburg that lead him to an existence surrounded by blood, fear, and death in the African bush. This is powerful and authentic story-telling. The author captivates you in a compelling theatre of the mind, revealing in dramatic detail, the sights, the sounds, the smells, and the fear. 

Andy falls for laughing, beautiful Alyson Carstens, the spoilt and protected darling of wealthy parents, but even there the war takes its toll. This is yet another gripping piece of story-telling and the author succeeds remarkably well in getting into the skin of this anguished young girl as dreams turn to nightmares and the consequences of betrayal and guilt materialize in tragedy.

The contrast is startling - the stark reality of war, mutilation and death and the lavish lifestyle of the Salisbury elite; elegant dancing and dining with a rifle always at the ready; luxurious living on the prosperous farms that have been in families for generations and armed convoys anywhere outside the city. But the writing is on the wall; the superbly trained Rhodesian army never lost a battle, yet they are fighting a war they cannot win. 

This is a fast moving, passionately told story of danger, love and tragedy.

Paperback, 412 pages. First published 2014.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ian Mackenzie was born in 1949 in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. He was educated at Queen's College in Queenstown and Parktown Boys High in Johannesburg. He served with the Rhodesian military during the bush war from 1976 to 1980, where he met his wife Rosemarie Kennedy. He has two sons in their 30's and currently lives with his wife in Johannesburg.

 

Customer Reviews

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A
A.
Fascinating look at a period of great change in Africa

Africa is a changing continent. The black natives are vying for their social and economic freedom, British officials are trying to contain the situation without the slightest idea of what things are really like there. Andy's troubled life seems to be a mirror of the troubled times in Africa, where racial and class issues are boiling over into conflict and rebellion. Can he save his marriage and find himself amidst these troubled times?
The descriptions can be beautiful and create a picturesque scene, but the ugly sides to the country are never far from mind. The characters are fairly well written. You get a sense of their motivations, and for major characters you know more about their pasts and how they were raised, which has helped shape them. The book tried not to pull punches when discussing sex, and contains strong language and a few scenes of violence. Definitely intended for older readers. What I liked was that this book set its backdrop as Africa during the 60s-80s, an often overlooked time and place in fiction.
At one point a man named Jed goes on for several pages about the problems in Africa, and while it is a (probably still fairly condensed way of getting the reader up to speed with what's happening and one viewpoint on it, it's still not that engaging to read. I did notice some things that could be cleared up with another round of editing, like missing punctuation. Aside from those few instances everything looked nice and neat.

**Amazon - May 10, 2014**

L
L.
A heartfelt novel that will simply take your breath away!

Take a journey along side main character, Andrew Mason, a financial executive who, because of unforeseen circumstances deviates from his path of success and tranquility into an all out Rhodesian bush war. It is here that he realizes the dangers of what it truly means to be a soldier. He becomes decorated and then meets his sole mate, Alyson Carstens who is the daughter of upper class wealthy parents. No spoilers but there are more to this story that meets the eye and the twists will keep you on the edge of your seat. All I can say is the ending is what took my breath away and left me with a longing desire to want more. I was saddened to see it come to an end. Words that describe this book are, Descriptive, Emotional, Romantic, Adventurous, Action, and Suspenseful in an original unique way that was well written.

**Amazon - April 17, 2014**

S
S.
Wonderful!

Wonderful novel - read in two sittings - and a reminder of the beautiful Rhodesia/Zimbabwe landscape, birdlife and wildlife and the destruction of families (on both sides) of the war. Vividly describes various people's experience of the war and gives insight into circumstances surrounding it .

** Reader Warehouse - 8/25/2014 **