On the Warm Shores of Africa continues the annals of the Allison family, first encountered in A Family Affair.
Jakes, the lawman turned dark avenger.
Abby, whose passion for another child transcends society norms.
Kirk, their son, who has to choose between the greed of British colonialism and the insular nationalism of the Boers.
The novel is wide ranging in history – from the Ninth Frontier War to the Anglo-Boer War – in location – from the cliffs of the Mzimvubu River gorge to the granite massif of St Helena Island – and in human emotions.
Yet the ending is a promise.
Local author Peter Cleary remains far and away the leader in his genre.
What he writes as fiction comes as close as is possible to reality.
An incredible amount of research is obvious as the story of the Allison family continues to unfold.
The people, places, politics and plots are straight out of the historical records and geographical descriptions of the Eastern Cape and Natal during the frontier wars, a chaotic era of flawed government and military decisions.
I liken this book to a tree: the trunk is the solid, factual storyline that climbs ever higher in its enthralling progression.
The branches illustrate the way it spreads across the various facets of the narrative – from Boer to Brit, from impi to infantry, from sea to mountain, from home to battlefield.
The leaves, flowers and thorns are the host of emotions – love and hate, vengeance and reconciliation – that colour the storyline.
And the seeds that fall are the children born – the next generation of heroes and heroines that will grow to dominate the pages of the inevitable sequels.
Well done Peter Cleary, on another excellent read.
Dave Savides – Zululand Observer