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There rebels on the island Dominion of Santome want to oust the white settlers. Adam, chief of staff of a mixed race army is caught in the middle. Leading his raw troops to engage the enemy while he tries to reconcile his actions with his honor, morals, a humanity. Can he stand up to the pressure of duty and the hazards of his tumultuous love life?
Reminiscent of the classic movie, Bhowani Junction, the emergence of racism, and the woes of newly independent colonies are featured in this authentic novel.
“Shit,” he said, “I wonder what the governor wants us to do now?”
“Whatever it is we must do it,” Rudy said in a resigned tone. “We were talking with Rose about moving to America after the war. She doesn’t think we have a future in Santome.”
“I tend to agree with you,” Adam said. He buckled his belt with the holster holding the heavy service revolver on it and headed for the car.
In the waiting room of the governor’s office General Bolton sat nervously chewing on his moustache.
“What is going on, General?” Adam asked.
“I’ve no idea, but I’m sure it is something big.”
Before Bolton could start speculating why the boss had called them, the ornate door to Governor Hampton’s office opened and the secretary called in the two soldiers.
The governor did not stand up from his desk and did not offer to shake hands with them.
“Greetings, gentlemen,” he said.
Hampton picked up an envelope from his desk, held it for a while, and continued. “Colonel Halder, these are your orders. I have directed the police chief of Nadabi to release Chief Bakubi into your custody. You are going to handcuff him, put him into an armored car, take him to the airport, and with a trusted sergeant, escort him onto an aircraft of Air Santome. They will section off a part of the passenger compartment for you and the prisoner. You shall deliver Bakubi to Windhoek. At the airport General Van Dusen of the South African Army will take him off your hands and give you a receipt for the prisoner. You must carry out the transfer today and return to Port Victoria tomorrow morning on board Air Santome. Do you understand?”
“Yes, Your Excellency.”
“Very well. There are only two minor items. One, you are not supposed to talk to reporters anywhere about the transfer of the prisoner. Two, if your aircraft were to be forced down or your armored car ambushed, I would prefer to see the prisoner perish rather than letting him survive. Is that clear?”
“Yes, Your Excellency,” Adam said. He though, Orders or no orders, I’m not going to murder anybody.
“You may go, Colonel.”
Adam saluted and marched out. He rode to the base immersed in thoughts. The old bastard! He thinks if he spirits Bakubi out of the country, the raids will stop. I have news for him: they won’t. Perhaps the intensity will escalate.
Adam made up a small, but well armed convoy to Nadabi and handed over command to Rudy. In his house, he prepared for the overnight stay in Windhoek, called Sergeant Gbanga, told him about the mission, and started out.
The transfer went smoothly. The chief remained quiet until they reached the airport and boarded the plane. The passengers had not appeared yet, and the only other people on the plane were a police lieutenant with two cops, and the mechanics working on the large, twin-engine aircraft. A curtain separated six seats in the front of the aircraft from the rest of the passengers.
“Sit down, Chief,” Adam said. He pointed at one of the chairs. “I’m going to remove the cuffs as soon as we are airborne.”
“I would appreciate it.”
The chief was not a big man but seemed wiry and strong. His English was impeccable, as Adam had heard often in his speeches on the radio. They sat silently in the comfortable, leather-upholstered seats just looking out of the widow until the police lieutenant stepped to Bakubi and drew the curtain.
Adam understood the cop wanting to avoid the possibility of someone seeing the chief. He signed the receipt for the prisoner, and the policemen departed.
When the crew appeared, Adam was surprised to see Mimi Bourassa coming in with two gold rings on the sleeve of her flight suit. She just waved to him and went on to the cockpit.
Although Adam knew that the airhostess would not let passengers enter the curtained area, to be on the safe side he had Sergeant Gbanga sit outside the curtain to stop anybody from entering.
Shortly after the takeoff, Adam removed Chief Bakubi’s handcuffs. He rubbed his wrists and smiled at Adam saying, “Thank you, Colonel.”
“Handcuffing you served no purpose. I think the governor just wanted to humiliate you. I do not believe in that.”
“I wonder what Hampton has against me?” the chief mused.
“He claims that you enticed the black population to rebel. I saw what those raiders did. They raped and murdered—”
“You are laboring under a grave misconception, Colonel,” Bakubi said, interrupting. “I did no such things. In fact, I managed to keep the pugnacious elements of the party under control. The raiders are not my men.”
“Nevertheless, that is what they are charging you with, sir.”
“That may be, but if they could prove it, Hampton would have had me tried and convicted. You would not have to spirit me out of the country in secret.”
“You have a point, sir,” Adam said. He did not want to engage in a debate with the chief.
“I know that. All I wanted was to have the election and then get out of the war. Do you know the amount of gold we contribute to the war effort of Britain?”
“I’ve no idea.”
“We committed the full output of the Olubadan mines. A British bomber comes to Port Victoria, usually after dark, and hauls off the gold to the vaults of a bank in Joburg. We get a receipt and nothing else. This is why I hammered the governor about the election. If the people wanted to keep on giving away the nation’s gold, and were prepared to say so in a plebiscite, that was all right with me,” Bakubi said.
“Again, you have a point, sir.”
“Nice of you to admit it, Colonel. Do you believe in freedom and democracy?” the chief asked.
“I was born in Hungary, sir. We were always trying to guard our freedom jealously. As far as democracy is concerned, it requires a level of political maturity.”
“Don’t you think the blacks in Santome are mature enough to handle it?” the chief challenged.
“Look at it this way, sir. Very few countries on this world have matured society to embrace the democratic system. Apart from Britain, the older dominions, and the US, very few nations could handle it.”
“Democracy demands tolerance and acceptance of the rule of the majority. At the same time, the majority should recognize the rights of the minorities; this is what I was taught at the academy,” Adam said.
“It sounds great, but what do you do if the minority refuses to give up power?”
“Wait for the next election.”
“Great,” the chief said, interrupting. “What would you do if the minority kept postponing the election and refusing to grant equal rights?”
“Look, Chief, I’m a soldier. I would never be part of any political movement.”
“You won’t be able to maintain your apolitical stance very long, Colonel. Let us assume a change of regime in Santome. If a large group of rebellious white people assembled and threatened to attack Fort Brian, would you order your troops to fire?”
“As I said, Chief, I’m a soldier in the service of the legal government. I would read the riot act first, and if the crowd would not yield, I’d give the order to fire,” Adam said.
“Bravo, Colonel. When I take over the government, I’ll make sure you are commanding the army of the republic.”
“I might be dead by then,” mused Adam.
The chief apparently realized that he could not draw Adam into a protracted political debate, for he quieted down, pulled the curtain, and looked at the puffs of clouds rushing by.
Just before the plane landed, Bakubi drew the blinds shut, saving Adam the intervention.
“Thank you, Chief.”
“One must be courteous with the future supreme commander of one’s army,” Bakubi said.
After they landed in Walvis, the captain and the crew, with the exception of Mimi left the plane. She came later and sat down opposite Adam.
“What are you doing on this plane?” Adam asked.
“I cannot get spare parts for the Typhoon. Therefore, I had to cut back my operations. I’m training for my International Air Transport Pilot’s license, serving as the co-pilot on Air Santome once or twice a week.”
“Why can’t you get parts for your plane?”
“It is a German-built machine, and we are at war with them,” Mimi said. “As I wanted to earn higher qualifications anyway, this job is just what I need.”
Born in Hungary, Gabriel studied civil engineering at the Budapest University. Taking active part in the 1956 revolution, he decided to defect. Settled in Canada, worked as an engineer but after a few years, he took a job in Bangladesh. For the next twenty odd years he worked in Africa, Asia and the South Pacific as a consulting engineer, chief executive officer, United Nations environmental engineering advisor and finally as a professor.
In 1982, he married, returned to Canada, and taught environmental engineering at Seneca College in Toronto. He retired as the Chair of Civil Engineering Technology. Since retirement, his hobby has been writing. Gabriel has published several full-length novels in both English and Hungarian.
The Soldier of misfortune is his tenth English language novel, and .the third published by Wing ePress. Apart from historical novels and thought provoking sci-fi, he had experimented with a variety of genre. His first novel, the Hades connection is being translated into Russian.
In Hungarian he published four novels: A Bardán kapcsolat (sci-fi, 2000), Hösök vagy bönösök (historical novel, 2005), Menni vagy maradni (fictionalized autobiography, 2006), A Fegyverek árnyékában (historical novel 2007)
Other publications: In addition to short stories and newspaper article, he has also written several manuals and college textbooks published by the Province of Ontario, Seneca College, United Nations, and the University of Malawi.
I’ve met this multi-published author before, but Gabriel Timar’s book, Aura Of War is so flawless with its convoluted espionage details that I couldn’t put it down. The life history of Baron Arthur DeVendt’s military career is an above average read. It is so real, so believable, that I could have sworn this writer was telling his own life’s experience. Yes, it is that good. If you doubt me, read it yourself. Not only is this book a keeper, but I rate it a 5+. You’ll not find a single plot glitch, or unexpected snag within the fabric of this story. It’s the history of one man’s military accomplishments, in a war that tears his family, and homeland of Hungary asunder.
When WWII begins in Germany, Baron Arthur DeVendt is only a school boy, yet he comes from a military background, and so, is determined to find a way to serve his country. Yet, in keeping with his plans to become an International Businessman when he grows up, he also prepares himself by becoming an accomplished linguist.
While serving as a cadet in the Royal Hungarian Army, he is employed for his linguistic talents, as well as by the French Foreign Legion…then eventually as an underground leader of Saboteurs, with many men under his command.
When he finds the Lady who wins his heart, he is in no position to even tell her who he really is. Yet, he knows he wishes to marry her, no matter what. This is his straw of hope throughout his years operating as a spy, until one day his team is compromised. Then he must make his own decisions how to save his operatives, as well as himself. -- JoEllen Conger, Conger Book Reviews, 5+
Book Publisher: Wings ePress
No. of Pages: 361
Paper Weight (lb): 15.0
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