Colonial adventures in a 6 volume collection set on the 'Dark Continent'
In the first years of the twentieth century much of the African continent remained dark, mysterious and still full of strange and exotic possibilities. The British Empire ruled over vast areas of trackless plain and dense equatorial jungle, all had their fragile order maintained by a small cadre of government officials, policemen, soldiers and forces raised from the local populations. To those who only read about these remarkable men it seemed they led a life full of the potential for adventure of the most exciting kind. So it was unsurprising that popular authors of the day-including H. Rider Haggard and the author of these stories, Edgar Wallace, among them, readily chose colonial Africa—with its fierce tribes, witch doctors and magic, its dangerous animals and wild landscapes—as a rich and rewarding stage for their forays into fiction to meet the insatiable demand of the domestic audience. Wallace was a prolific author responsible for several series of popular novels featuring bold adventurers and crime fighters. For his series set in the highly evocative world of West Africa he created two of his most beloved and enduring characters, Colonial Administrator Sanders and his eccentric companion Lieutenant Tibbetts, known to all as 'Bones'. Sanders was probably based upon the real life character of Frederick Lugard who was the highly regarded creator and administrator of Northern Nigeria and whose incredible career can scarcely be said to have been less remarkable than that of his fictional counterpart. Those who love classic adventure especially set against an African backdrop will discover a rich vein of reading pleasure in the six Leonaur books (which include both short stories and novels) that comprise this special edition of the collected adventures of Sanders and Bones.
Volume six includes two books first published as individual volumes—Sanders and Again Sanders.
This series is available in softcover and hardcover with dustjacket for collectors.
And when his spies brought news of old men gathering secretly in the woods and speaking against him as an oppressor of the people (which he was not) and a rapacious foreigner (which he was), he said insulting things about the intelligence of old men and said no more. But when, in a quiet place, four men came together and said:<br>
“These are the days of women—Wa! I have not drawn blood with my claws,” and that speech was reported, Bosambo called his six best captains to him.<br>
“In such a village are four men who are Leopards. Go swiftly and kill, but let no man see the killing.”<br>
And the captains went out by night and travelled till dawn, when they slept through the day. At night they moved again and by diligent enquiry found the spot where the new Leopards held a lodge.<br>
They were talking over the matter of initiations when the six appeared with their shields on their arms and their killing spears in their hands.<br>
“Come with us,” said the chief of the six, and led them away to a deep ravine, and there they killed them, leaving what was to be left to the real leopards who live here in families.<br>
Bosambo’s great hut was on the river side of the city, and between his hut and the water were only his fields of corn and the huts of his guard. For a time might come when he would need the open space that led to where his three big canoes were ranged on the beach.<br>
Here, in huts so near to the river that you might fish from them, dwelt the young men who were spearmen or paddlers as occasion demanded. They were tall, straight young men, very strong and terribly brave, and very proud, for each man wore a scarlet cotton handkerchief bound about his head which was the livery of the king.<br>
Bosambo sat in the shade of a large grass mat one sweltering day, speaking to the chief of his guard, Bosongo, and the talk was of a woman of the Isisi. None of his intimate guard was married; marriage meant retirement to the mass which did not wear handkerchiefs about their heads.<br>
“Lord Bosambo, I think my time is come, for this woman is very wonderful to me and her father is rich. I will build a hut and be your man and you will make me the head of a fighting regiment, as you made T’furi and M’suri Balana and other men.”<br>
Bosambo pulled steadily at his long-stemmed pipe and obscured the still air with a cloud of rank-smelling smoke.<br>
“This I will do, Bosongo, but the Isisi are a strange folk and will not let their women cross the river to live in a strange land. Now here in the Ochori are women in plenty.”<br>
Bosongo nodded, which meant his disagreement.<br>
“This girl is strong for me, and when her father has given me the salt and rods and goats which come with her, I will bring her by night in a canoe to this land and that will be the end.”<br>
But Bosambo was not so easily convinced. A breach or two of national custom meant little to him, but here was a possibility of trouble, for the Isisi at this moment was in its most truculent mood. The harvest had been good, men were rich in corn and salt, and in such circumstances the risk of war was great.<br>
“If there is a killing palaver what may I say to my lord Sandi, who is almost my brother? For did we not go to the same mission school and learn of Marki, Luki and Johnni which are white men’s mysteries? I will think of this, Bosongo, and in one day and two days I will tell you what is in my mind.”<br>
“Lord,” said Bosongo eagerly, “there will be no bad palaver; for this woman has often come to my house with her father and his paddlers.”<br>
Bosambo stared at him. blankly.<br>
“I have seen no little chief of the Isisi in this city,” he said.<br>
Bosongo grew uncomfortable.<br>
“He brought her by night, knowing how I love this woman. In the morning he took her away.”<br>
Bosambo said nothing more, but with a lordly wave of his hand dismissed his guard.<br>
That evening between the lights came a spy of his from the Isisi, for Bosambo took no chances. The Leopardism which four machine-guns and a company of Houssas had stamped out three years before was rampant again from the Lower Akasava to the Upper Isisi, though the rope that hanged the chief of the Leopards still swung its ravelled strands in the breeze.<br>
For an hour they sat in conference in the dark of his hut, the spy and the chief of the Ochori. Then in the darkness the spy crept away, followed the river’s course for a mile till he came to a canoe with five paddlers, and in the bottom of the canoe a man bound with native rope and gagged uncomfortably. He spoke a few words and, stooping, the paddlers lifted their prisoner from the bottom of the canoe, stayed long enough to pull the boat high and dry before they cut the bonds of the man’s feet and took the gag out of his mouth.<br>
“Walk with me, little Leopard,” said the spy.<br>
They gave the man a drink of water.<br>
“If you speak what is true to Bosambo he will do you no hurt,” they told him, and with this assurance he walked silently in their midst until they came to the edge of the Ochori city, through which they led him by back ways to Bosambo’s great hut, where it was his practice to sleep alone.<br>
And there he talked and talked and talked, being rendered the more loquacious by large draughts of native beer. In the end Bosambo was well satisfied.<br>
That night came three Isisi Leopards who had learnt in some mysterious way of the killings in the ravine. They came noiselessly in one black canoe, and, threading their way between the habitations of his guard, came to the king’s hut. And on their hands were gloves of leopard pads with ripping steel claws, which is the insignia of the society. One wormed his way into Bosambo’s hut and struck with the knife he carried, and when he felt the body shudder, he used his clawed pad as the ritual directed. . . . <br>
The murderer was crawling to the door when a huge hand gripped his neck and thrust his face downward, in another second a knee was in the small of his back. He tried to fight up, but only for a second. A short club of dried rubber struck him. When he recovered consciousness he was sitting with his back against a tree; the ghastly glow of dawn was in the sky, and even as he blinked from left to right the sun was up.<br>
“O man, I see you,” said Bosambo. “Behold this evil thing which you have done!”<br>
He looked to the right and the prisoner’s eyes followed. He saw the captured Leopard lying stark and awful to see. The two paddlers who had accompanied him he did not see, for they were dead in the river.