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 two includes two books first published as individual volumes—The River of Stars and Bosambo of the River.
This series is available in softcover and hardcover with dustjacket for collectors.
Three weeks afterwards a man whose face none saw came swiftly and secretly to the frontiers of the Akasava country, and with him came such of his kindred as were closely enough related to feel the shame which Olandi had put upon them. For Olandi of the Akasava had carried off the favourite wife of the man, though not against her will.<br>
This Olandi was a fine animal, tall and broad of shoulder, muscled like an ox, arrogant and pitiless. They called him the native name for leopard because he wore robes of that beast’s skin, two so cunningly joined that a grinning head lay over each broad shoulder.<br>
He was a hunter and a fighting man. His shield was of wicker, delicately patterned and polished with copal; his spears were made by the greatest of the N’gombi craftsmen, and were burnished till they shone like silver; and about his head he wore a ring of silver. A fine man in every way. Some say that he aspired to the kingship of the Akasava, and that Tombili’s death might with justice be laid at his door; but as to that we have no means of knowing the truth, for Tombili was dead when they found him in the forest.<br>
Men might tolerate his tyrannies, sit meekly under his drastic judgments, might uncomplainingly accept death at his hands; but no man is so weak that he would take the loss of his favourite wife without fighting, and thus it came about that these men came paddling furiously through the black night. Save for the “flip-flap” of the paddles, as they struck the water, and the little groan which accompanied each stroke, there was no sound.<br>
They came to the village where Olandi lorded it just as the moon cleared the feathery tops of the N’gombi woods. Bondondo lay white and silent under the moon, two rows of roofs yellow thatched, and in the centre the big rambling hut of the chief, with its verandah propped with twisted saplings.<br>
The secret man and his brothers made fast their two canoes and leapt lightly to land. They made no sound, and their leader guiding them, they went through the street like ghostly shadows.<br>
Before the chief’s hut the embers of a dull fire glowed. He hesitated before the doors. Three huts built to form a triangle composed the chief’s habitation. To the right and left was an entrance with a hanging curtain of skins. Likely as not Olandi slept in the third hut, which opened from either of these.<br>
He hesitated a moment, then he: drew aside the curtains of the right-hand door and went in, his brother, his uncle, and his two cousins following.<br>
A sleepy voice asked who was there,<br>
“I come to see the lord Olandi,” said the intruder.<br>
He heard a rustle at the farthermost end of the room and the creaking of a skin bed.<br>
“What seek you?” said a voice, and it was that of a man used to command.<br>
“Is that my lord?” demanded the visitor.<br>
He had a broad-bladed elephant sword gripped fast, so keen of edge that a man might shave the hair from the back of his hand therewith.<br>
“I am Olandi,” said the man in the darkness, and came forward.<br>
There was absolute stillness. They who waited could hear the steady breathing of the sleepers; they heard, too, a “whish!” such as a civilised man hears when his womenfolk thrust a hatpin through a soft straw shape.<br>
Another tense silence, then: “It is as it should be,” said the murderer calmly, and softly called a name. Somebody came blundering from the inner room sobbing with chokes and gulps. “Come,” said the man, then: “Is the foreign woman there also? Let her also go with us.”<br>
The girl called another in a low voice, and a woman joined them. Olandi was catholic in his tastes and raided indiscriminately.<br>
The first girl shrank back as her husband laid his hand on her arm. “Where is my lord?” she whimpered.<br>
“I am your lord,” said the secret man dryly; “as for the other, he has no need of women, unless there be women in hell, which is very likely.”<br>
None attempted to stop the party as it went through the street and back to the canoes, though there were wails and meanings in Olandi’s hut and uneasy stirrings in the village.<br>
Men hailed them sharply as they passed, saying, “Oilo?” which means, “Who walks?” But they made no reply. Then with the river and safety before them, there arose the village watchman who challenged the party.<br>
He had heard the faint death-cry from Olandi’s hut, and advanced his terrible cutting-spear to emphasise his challenge. The leader leapt at him, but the watchman parried the blow skilfully and brought the blade of his spear down as a man of olden times might sweep his battle-axe.<br>
The other’s sword had been struck from his hold, and he put up his defenceless arm to ward off the blow. Twice the sharp edge of the spear slashed his hand, for in the uncertain light of the moon the watchman misjudged his distance. Then, as he recovered for a decisive stroke, one of the kinsmen drove at his throat, and the watchman went down, his limbs jerking feebly. The injured man stopped long enough roughly to dress his bleeding palm, then led his wife, shivering and talking to herself like a thing demented, to the canoe, the second wife following.<br>
In the early hours before the dawn four swift paddlers brought the news to Sanders, who was sleeping aboard the Zaire, made fast to the beach of Akasava City.