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 three includes two books first published as individual volumes—Bones & The Keepers of the King’s Peace.
This series is available in softcover and hardcover with dustjacket for collectors.
At that precise moment Bones was sitting before the most fantastic religious assembly that ecclesiastic or layman had ever attended.<br>
Fate and Bones had led the girl through a very pleasant forest glade—they left the light-draught Wiggle half a mile downstream owing to the shoals which barred their progress, and had come upon Bucongo in an exalted moment.
With the assurance that he was doing no more than intrude upon one of those meetings which the missionizing Chief of the Lesser Isisi so frequently held, Bones stood on the outer fringe of the circle which sat in silence to watch an unwilling novitiate getting acquainted with Bucongo’s god.<br>
The novice was a girl, and she lay before an altar of stones surmounted by a misshapen beti who glared with his one eye upon the devout gathering. The novice lay rigid, for the excellent reason that she was roped foot and hands to two pegs in the ground.<br>
Before the altar itself was a fire of wood in which two irons were heating.<br>
Bones did not take this in for a moment, for he was gazing open-mouthed at Bucongo. On his head was an indubitable mitre, but around the mitre was bound a strip of skin from which was suspended a circle of dangling monkey tails. For cope he wore a leopard’s robe. His face was streaked red with camwood, and around his eyes he had painted two white circles.<br>
He was in the midst of a frenzied address when the two white visitors came upon the scene, and his hand was outstretched to take the red branding-iron when the girl at Bones’s side, with a little gasp of horror, broke into the circle, and wrenching the rough iron from the attendant’s hand, flung it towards the circle of spectators, which widened in consequence.<br>
“How dare you—how dare you!” she demanded breathlessly, “you horrible-looking man!”<br>
Bucongo glared at her but said nothing; then he turned to meet Bones.<br>
In that second of time Bucongo had to make a great decision, and to overcome the habits of a lifetime. Training and education to the dominion of the white man half raised his hand to the salute; something that boiled and bubbled madly and set his shallow brain afire, something that was of his ancestry, wild, unreasoning, brutish, urged other action. Bones had his revolver half drawn when the knobbly end of the chief’s killing-spear struck him between the eyes, and he went down on his knees.<br>
Thus it came about, that he found himself sitting before Bucongo, his feet and hands tied with native grass, with the girl at his side in no better case.<br>
She was very frightened, but this she did not show. She had the disadvantage of being unable to understand the light flow of offensive badinage which passed between her captor and Bones.<br>
“O Tibbetti,” said Bucongo, “you see me as a god—I have finished with all white men.”<br>
“Soon we shall finish with you, Bucongo,” said Bones.<br>
“I cannot die, Tibbetti,” said the other with easy confidence, “that is the wonderful thing.”<br>
“Other men have said that,” said Bones in the vernacular, “and their widows are wives again and have forgotten their widowhood.”<br>
“This is a new ju-ju, Tibbetti,” said Bucongo, a strange light in his eyes. “I am the greatest of all cross-God men, and it is revealed to me that many shall follow me. Now you and the woman shall be the first of all white people to bear the mark of Bucongo the Blessed. And in the days to be you shall bare your breasts and say, ‘Bucongo the Wonderful did this with his beautiful hands.’”<br>
Bones was in a cold sweat and his mouth was dry. He scarcely dare look at the girl by his side.<br>
“What does he say?” she asked in a low voice. Bones hesitated, and then haltingly he stammered the translation of the threat.<br>
“O Bucongo,” said Bones, with a sudden inspiration, “though you do evil, I will endure. But this you shall do and serve me. Brand me alone upon the chest, and upon the back. For if we be branded separately we are bound to one another, and you see how ugly this woman is with her thin nose and her pale eyes; also she has long hair like the grass which the weaver birds use for their nests.”<br>
He spoke loudly, eagerly, and it seemed convincingly, for Bucongo was in doubt. Truly the woman by all standards was very ugly. Her face was white and her lips thin. She was a narrow woman too, he thought, like one underfed.<br>
“This you shall do for me, Bucongo,” urged Bones; “for gods do not do evil things, and it would be bad to marry me to this ugly woman who has no hips and has an evil tongue.”<br>
Bucongo was undecided.<br>
“A god may do no evil,” he said; “but I do not know the ways of white men. If it be true, then I will mark you twice, Tibbetti, and you shall be my man forever; and the woman I will not touch.”<br>
“Cheer oh!” said Bones.<br>
“What are you saying—will he let us go?” asked the girl.<br>
“I was sayin’ what a jolly row there’ll be,” lied Bones; “and he was sayin’ that he couldn’t think of hurtin’ a charmin’ lady like you. Shut your eyes, dear old Miss Hamilton.”<br>
She shut them quickly, half fainting with terror, for Bucongo was coming towards them, a blazing iron in his hand, a smile of simple benevolence upon his not unintelligent face.