It is 1913 and ex-soldier turned professional big game hunter, Leon Courtney, is in British East Africa guiding rich and powerful men from America and Europe on safaris in the Masai tribe territories. One of his clients, German industrialist Count Otto Von Meerbach, has a company which builds aircraft and vehicles for the Kaiser's burgeoning army. But Leon had not bargained on falling passionately in love with Eva, the Count's beautiful and enigmatic mistress.
Just prior to the outbreak of World War I, Leon is recruited by his uncle, Penrod Ballantyne, Commander of the British Forces in East Africa, to gather information from Von Meerbach. He stumbles on a plot against the British involving the disenchanted survivors of the Boer War, but it is only when Eva and Von Meerbach return to Africa that Leon finds out who and what is really behind the conspiracy.
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Wilbur Smith was born January 9, 1933 in Broken Hill, Northern Rhodesia. He grew up on a cattle ranch and spent his childhood hunting and hiking. His mother gave him novels of escape and excitement, which piqued his interest in fiction; however, his father dissuaded him from pursuing writing.
After education at Cordwalles Preparatory School, Michaelhouse in Natal and Rhodes University, in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, he became a journalist, writing about social conditions in South Africa, but his father's advice to "Get a real job" prompted him to resentfully become a tax accountant. His publisher and eventually agent, Charles Pick, later gave him advice he never forgot: "Write for yourself, and write about what you know best."
Wilbur states that Africa is his major inspiration, and currently he has over 30 novels published. Smith now lives in London, but avows an abiding concern for the peoples and wildlife of his native continent.
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