Death on the Kunene


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“The people will cry when they see their sacred lands being eaten by the river.”

The heartland of the Himba people is threatened by the proposal to build a hydro-electric dam on the Kunene River.

Adam Geard is hired by Rivers for Life to lobby for a less damaging solutions to Namibia’s power needs. His quest becomes personal when a Himba friend and his family are savagely tortured and murdered for the crime of speaking out against the dam.

Strong forces are at work: greed for the financial spoils, disregard for human life, foreign nations vying for patronage. Conspiracies abound as the Namibian and Angolan governments jockey for the right to choose the dam site and the contractors who will build and finance the project.

With little regard for the forces rallied against him, Adam relentlessly pursues the killers of his friend. Retribution for the murderers and their bosses is his only acceptable outcome.


With a storyline as uncompromising as the harsh terrain in which it is set, ‘Death on the Kunene’ is by far the best book yet from the pen of Peter Cleary – and that’s saying something.

There’s not a dull page or an implausible character and once again, the historical and geographical references are impeccable.

The essence of the plot is a plan to build a hydro-electric dam on the Kunene River, with the action moving swiftly between Namibia and Angola, with the lives and land of a minority community at stake.

Humble and vulnerable tribal leaders are forced into confrontation with crooked politicians and ruthless insurgents from the world’s super power nations as people are forced to choose sides.

The worst of humanity: greed, corruption, violence and cold-blooded passion are juxtaposed by the integrity and courage of the ‘good guys’ – including the hero Adam Geard, who at times behaves as badly as the mercenaries and executioners he opposes.

Peter Cleary writes his books the way Kenny Rogers sings his songs; every word of every line is ‘believable’, and that’s what makes it a number one hit.

Dave Savides – Zululand Observer