“This story based on actual events is authentic, powerful, achingly beautiful and sad, and often brutal. The landscape is vast, which Alan Fagan paints with care and emotion. His compassion and respect for the indigenous people is evident as is his deep love for his dog, Spike. This book is a must-read.”
In 1901, 14-year-old Cornelius Engelbrecht and his coloured friend trekked on a wagon train from Lydenburg, South Africa, to Gatooma, Rhodesia (Zimbabwe). The events of that journey were thrilling, sometimes horrifying. His memories are vivid and he shares them with his son, Jan, under the family’s large mango tree.
While growing up Jan forms a deep and lasting friendship with Runako, whose father Wilson works on the small farm where he teaches both boys bush lore. They enjoy many adventures together and Jan is drawn increasingly to his life’s purpose, which is to protect animals from poachers and villagers from rogue animals, while Runako moves towards the liberation of Rhodesia. Jan and his legendary dog, Spike, along with his faithful companion, Humpy, accompany him on expeditions throughout the Zambezi Valley that are both exciting and often life-threatening.