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 four includes two books first published as individual volumes—Lieutenant Bones and Bones in London.
This series is available in softcover and hardcover with dustjacket for collectors.
He straightened himself with a comfortable sigh, went back to the tiny cabin, put his revolver and cartridge belt near his head—Bones affected a picturesque but unauthorised equipment—and, stretching himself upon the bed, he drew a thin coverlet over him and fell slowly but deliciously into the land of dreams.<br>
He dreamt that he had rescued a beautiful maiden from a horde of wild savages, who, curiously enough, wore the sombreros and “chaps” of American cowboys mounted on wild horses—the horse has never been seen in the Territories, by the way—and had brought her to safety. She was very distressed because she had no boots or stockings on, although otherwise she was dressed in the most fashionable attire, and as it was raining heavily she wept. Nor was she content with weeping, for she howled, which was an unladylike thing to do, and all the time the rain was pattering down, tap, tap, tap, from the palm tree under which they stood.<br>
“The best thing I can do for you, dear old thing,” Bones was saying,” is to get a cab.” For he was growing irritated, not only by her wild yells, but by the incessant tapping of the rain, and then he woke up.<br>
The yells were real enough, as were the tap, tap, of arrows striking against the side of the vessel.<br>
Bones slipped on his mosquito boots, buckled his revolver about his waist, and stepped out to the deck. The river was full of canoes. Men were clambering up over the side of the boat, and he heard the yell of Yoka, the steersman.<br>
“O Tibbetti, swim!”<br>
A man jumped towards him from the bulwark, and Bones fired. He heard another shot from the stern of the boat—probably one of the Houssa guard who had shaken off his assailants—and Bones fired again and brought down his man.<br>
Instinctively he knew that there was no hope of beating off this attack. Who were the assailants he could only guess. The Akasava were bringing war into Sander’s country, and had come in force. In one stride he reached the side of the Wiggle, and without a second’s hesitation he dived between two canoes. He was a splendid swimmer, but he knew his only chance of escape was keeping under water, and he struck out with swift, strong strokes for the opposite shore to that which had faced him when he had dived.<br>
He passed under the keel of the Wiggle, and, when he could remain under no longer, came up to fill his lungs with air.<br>
He was now some distance from the steamer, which, helmless and unattended, was keeping on its course, for Yoka had jumped at the same time as his master. He had not been seen, though there were two canoes between himself and the shore, and he dived again. Before he had leapt into the water he had replaced his revolver in its waterproof holster, a fact which gave him some satisfaction, though he was by no means out of danger. Hereabouts, as he knew, the river was swarming with crocodile, and the forest itself might hold a hundred perils.<br>
He had reached the sloping beach, and had staggered ashore, when a canoe, which had come gliding along the river a few feet from the shore, shot out of the darkness, and there was a jabbering yell which told Bones that he had been sighted. He dashed into the thicket, his pyjamas torn to shreds by the thorns, his thin-shod feet bruised and lacerated by the sharp needles of the underbrush.<br>
He could not outrun these men through the wilderness, but fortunately he struck the inevitable path which followed the river. His eyes, now accustomed to the darkness, picked out the way, and though he ran full tilt into a sapling, he suffered no other mishap. He knew he was being followed, and might have made a fight of it, but the first explosion of his revolver would bring the whole pack on his trail; there was a chance that the main flotilla did not know that he had been discovered. He felt rather than knew they were gaining on him, and whipped out his revolver. Then suddenly the path ceased. He did not realize the fact until he drove full pelt into a thick reed fence which had apparently been erected right across the track. It was not an insuperable obstacle, being made of thick rushes loosely plaited, and he was able to thrust his hand through and tear a hole in the reeds big enough to scramble through. His shoulders and one leg were through, when he heard ahead of him a curious whimpering and growling, and every hair on his head stood up. There was no time to hesitate. His pursuers were now close on his heels, but he stood on the far side of the fence, hot and panting, and levelled his revolver to cover the path along which he had come.