|Mandleve's Gold by Daniel J. Joubert|
|Thursday, 23 July 2009 17:00|
In the spirit of Rider Haggard's King Solomen's Mine, Mandleve's Gold is a great, rollicking African adventure novel based around the mineral that made South Africa famous, gold, and the Great Rush of the late 1800s. In this grand history is played out a more personal story, that of the love between two people. Both Elizabeth Bradford and Sam Bartlett arrive in South African on the same ship from London, unknown to each other and traveling on different decks. Elizabeth is on her way to start a new life in Pilgrim's Rest while Sam is in search of his grandfather Mandleve, but the prophecy of a sangoma brings them together. Under the watchful eye of Josikulu, a Shangaan guide, the unlikely couple set off in search of the truth behind Mandleve's gold. Drawing on the mystery that was the Dark Continent to many early European settlers, the story embraces traditional African legends and beliefs, with the Which-Doctor playing a pivotal role in guiding the narrative.
The journey is both a physical and spiritual one, as the two struggle against the hardships that Africa throws up against them as well as fending off fellow treasure-hunter and all round bad guy Jack Dorlan and the Buchanan gang. Despite all the perils they face in this journey, or even because of them, Elizabeth and Sam's relationship grows from strength to strength.
A gripping read for fans of the Boys Own Adventure series, this is an intriguing first novel from an author with much promise. Like the novels of Wilbur Smith, another of our KwaZulu-Natal writers, Africa is the setting and inspiration for this work.