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 five includes two books first published as individual volumes—Sandi, the King-Maker and Bones of the River.
This series is available in softcover and hardcover with dustjacket for collectors.
Before daybreak the Zaire steamed down, strewn, and behind her trailed more canoes in one line than any of the people of Rimi-Rimi had ever seen; and in each canoe sat twelve delighted men of the King’s guard who found their canoes moving without any effort on their part, and that was pleasing, because soldiers do not like work.<br>
They came to the village of Tonkini at noon, having travelled considerably over a hundred miles in seven hours, and they landed without opposition. Okaso, who was a skilled captain, threw out a screen of skirmishers without finding his enemy in force, though one village showed fight and was taken and burnt.<br>
The country hereabouts was open.<br>
They were in the foot-hills of the Ghost Mountain, and within twenty miles of the path which led to the Ochori country. To secure this path was Sanders’s first consideration, and he sent forward a third of his force to establish themselves in the country to the other side of the road; but Rimilaka had heard news in the night, and, what was more important, had a large force within striking distance of the mountain; and scarcely had the Old King’s guard reached their post when Rimilaka struck with five thousand spears and threw the invaders back half-way to their base.<br>
Bosambo saw the danger and went forward at the head of two regiments, striking at a point where he guessed the right of Rimilaka’s spears would rest. The manoeuvre was only partially successful, because the greater portion of Rimilaka’s force was now in movement; and though Bosambo reached the enemy’s flank and turned it he had to retire, leaving a considerable portion of his force upon the ground.<br>
“Lord, I think it is not well,” he said. He had come back to Sanders, bleeding from a wound in his shoulder and very tired. This tiredness he explained simply,<br>
“I carried back Okaso who is hurt with a spear in the chest, and will die if it is the will of God. But I think this fight is worth all, because the men led me king as they went into battle. So also did Okaso, else,” he added naively. “I would have left him to be chopped.”<br>
Okaso’s injuries were not as serious as Bosambo thought, but quite bad enough, as Sanders saw when he dressed the wound.<br>
“You shall go on board my ship, Okaso,” he said, “and I think you will live.”<br>
“It is a terribly strange thing you do, lord,” said the fighting captain, “saving those who are hurt to death.”<br>
“That is the way of the new king,” said Sanders, “and the law he brings.”<br>
He had his mind occupied for the next hour. Rimilaka was attacking in full strength, and once broke through the locked line and would have brought about disaster but for an opportune machine-gun post which Bones had sited.<br>
It was late in the afternoon when Rimilaka delivered his third and most serious blow, and Sanders guessed that every warrior the Tofolaka could muster was attacking. The defensive line gave in waves, and it seemed that the end was at hand. Then Bosambo led his eighty warriors into a crucial gap, and for a moment defeat was averted.<br>
Sanders sent for Bones, and, handing over his machine-gun to his sergeant, Captain Tibbetts reported.<br>
“If we bolt before this crowd, we’re probably finished in this country,” said Sanders; “and if we don’t bolt, we’re certainly finished. Have the launch ready, and a full head of steam in the Zaire.”<br>
The belt of land his force was holding was scarcely a mile wide, and behind the warriors was no retreat but the river and their canoes. Rimilaka saw the fight from a hill nearby.<br>
“Now,” he said exultantly, “my day has come, and I shall be king of this land.”<br>
He called a grey-haired chief to him.<br>
“Go now and tell my captains to make an end,” he said, “for I see that Sandi’s soldiers are weak, and if we run quickly our enemies will not reach his boat.”<br>
The old man carried his message and then edged his way into the struggling line, where he was killed.<br>
And then, when it seemed that nothing could save Sanders and his party, when the line was wavering and only a pitiful remnant of the king’s guard was fighting, and that for its life, Rimilaka turned his head and saw an immense army behind him. They were pouring down the hill through the narrow road which led to the Ochori—Akasava and N’gombi and Ochori— thousands of yellow shields and flashing spear-tops.