Men of Men (Ballantyne Book 2)
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Men of Men by Wilbur Smith
It was called The Devil's Own: a steep scar in the African earth, around which men toiled with picks, shovels, and dreams of the milky treasures that would become prized, polished diamonds. In this demonic race, native tribesmen became miners. Sometimes they became thieves. And then they became rebels.
Zouga Ballantyne, an African-born Englishman, sees the Devil's Own mine as his ticket to the North: a realm of waterfalls and fertile plains, teeming wildlife, and seeded fields of gold. But what happens in the diamond mines of the fledgling Boer Free State sets the course for Ballantyne and a cast of comrades, enemies, and lovers--and for the continent itself.
From the visions of imperialists to the fury between a father and a son, from the lengths a man will go for a woman and a woman for her convictions, a tragic clash of generations and civilizations was shaking 19th-century Africa, where some warriors fought for their gods--and others for the men who came before them...
gateway of the stockade. Three times in as many weeks Mungo St John petitioned the king – asking him to ‘give the road’ to the south – but each time the king chatted affably for an hour and then waved him away. ‘I will think on it, One Bright Eye, but are you unhappy here? Does the beef and beer I send you not fill your belly? Perhaps you would like to go once again on the hunt?’ ‘I want to go south, oh King.’ ‘Perhaps in the next full moon, One Bright Eye, and then again perhaps after the
faith.’ ‘Was not the killing of my young men a breaking of faith, Bakela?’ Lobengula asked sadly. ‘If it was not, then my people believe it to be so. The regiments are gathered, so that they darken the Hills of the Indunas; they wear their plumes and carry their assegais and their guns, and their eyes are red. The blood of Matabele has been spilled, Bakela, and the enemies of the king gather against him.’ ‘Hear me, oh King, think a while before you let your young men run. What do they know of
the thorn tree. ‘Damn me,’ Pickering smiled. ‘But you nag like a wife.’ None of them were surprised at the familiar address between servant and master. In Africa relationships like this were common; the servant considering himself to be part of the family with a voice in the affairs of the family, and his claim was accepted by all. ‘Jan Cheroot has hated the idol since the day we discovered it.’ ‘Tell me about that day, Jan Cheroot,’ ordered Rhodes brusquely; and Jan Cheroot puffed up visibly
steal from the tribe, from the elders of the tribe, but Bakela is not Matabele. He is buni, white man, it is not wrong doing to take from him any more than it is against law and custom to send the assegai through the heart of a Mashona dog, or to mount his wife in sport, or to take the cattle of a Tswana and put fire into his kraal to hear his children squeal. Those are natural and right things for a man to do.’ ‘Bakela is my father, the stone is his calf, given into my care.’ ‘He will give you
will be strong now – you will see.’ ‘You have always been strong, deep inside.’ ‘No, but I will be now. We shall find that capful of diamonds together, and afterwards we shall go north.’ He did not reply, and it was she who spoke again. ‘Zouga, I want you to make love to me – now.’ ‘Aletta, you know that is dangerous.’ ‘Now,’ she repeated. ‘Now, please.’ And she took his hand down and placed it under the hem of her nightdress against the smooth warm skin of her inner thigh. She had never done