Storey, born in Rhodesia,
grew up in the Africa of the 60s and 70s.
he lives in Lincolnshire
with his wife Penelope and his two dogs. He enjoys fast cars, boating, target
shooting and the English countryside. He travels widely to historic sites and
to get the feel of his subject.
Above all, he
loves a pint of real ale.•The
The story of a
Rhodesian boy growing up in the innocence and the violence of Colonial Africa.
From childhood he had
learnt the ways of Africa and of its history,
yet he was also a product of his own time and place and of his own distinct
English culture. He grew to understand that there are few absolutes among
people and societies. Only the Bush is pure in its pitiless logic, in its stark
contrast between life and death.
His experiences shape
and change him as he grows by stages from boyhood through youth to young
manhood, his rites of passage set against a background of love, hate, and pitiless
to my beloved wife Penelope, and
to thE Memory of my friend
The Inspector Gently Series,
who encouraged me
to write this novel.
to Gary Storey of Melbourne.•
The Colonial Boy
First Electronic Edition. Revised
Copyright © Geoffrey Storey 2006,
reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by
any means, mechanical or electronic, including manual re-input, photocopying,
scanning, optical character recognition, recording or by any information
storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the copyright
This novel is a work of fiction.
All characters and events described herein are fictitious and wholly the product
of the author’
s imagination. Any resemblance to events or actual
persons, living or dead, is unintentional and coincidental.
Books electronic edition is based upon the original Paul Mould print edition
with additional revisions by the Author.
For further information:firstname.lastname@example.org•By the Same AuthorBooksAnabasis
A novel of
Hellenistic Afghanistan and India.The White Dragon and the Coming of the Kings
saga of Sixth Century Britain
during the period of early English settlement.
The soldier crouched by the door
of the Chopper, swinging the machine gun in an arc over the thick thorn-scrub
below. The other three men in his stick were tensed to jump.
His adrenalin was pumping. Too many contacts. Too much
fighting. Too much. He was exhausted yet felt on a high. Nothing was real, but
this. The call.
The pilot shouted, “
Five minutes to contact.”
He stared out at the Bush. His Bush. The Bush he knew so well from boyhood. But
now so unfriendly. Shite! Anywhere there could be a machine gun pointed right at
him. Fuck. Concentrate!
He caught himself. His thoughts had drifted. He had heard
snippets of conversation.
“Go for it!” said Gideon.
“I do love you,” said Sue.
Sudden memories wandered in and out of his consciousness.
The way, back home, the hot humid muggy heat could be wiped aside by a sudden thunder-storm, the air suddenly wiped clean, fresh and sweet, the smell of damp grass...the feel of home, the memories flickering in and out of his mind like still pictures...
The chopper swooped. The carpet of green became full of foci. Individual trees. Individual snares, individual killers. He stared intently, looking for sign. A clearing loomed up. The chopper hovered.
His Mother asking his Father to say Grace before family meals in the old farmhouse out in the Bush.
The old mock-prayer, of begging, yet fatalistic at the same time, of Royal Naval sailors awaiting an enemy ship’s broadside; “Lord, for what we are about to receive, make us truly thankful...”
“Go, Go, GO!”
*CHAPTER ONE: The Boy
The Boy sprawled over his
bed. It was awfully hot. The tented folds of the mosquito netting sagged down
towards him. Through his bedroom window, half-obscured by the frangipani
leaves, he could see the full moon blotting out the stars. Sleep was not on
tonight. Anyway, it was The Holidays. No need to do anything in particular first
thing. Father would not be back for days yet. Mother only expected to see the
Boy at brekker
. No need to worry. No need to conjure up those images
that helped sleep.“
Judy pricked up her
ears, wagged her tail. She slept on the end of his bed, in her own little nest
of rumpled sheet. The Boy’
s half-hearted attempts to sleep had told her
that soon they would be going out prowling the night together. He reached down
his hand and she silently licked it with a softly rasping tongue.“Yebo”
he said softly in Ndebele. “
silently jumped down and went over to the water bowl in her corner of the room
for a drink. Slithering out of bed, slipping his worn leather veldtskoene,
onto his feet and pulling on an old pair of khaki shorts took only a moment. Of
course his old clasp-knife was always there, long and thin, worn by sharpening
and use, looped on rope around his waist and tied like a gunfighter’
pistol – and for exactly the same reason, too. It was always with him and had
as many uses as he had thoughts. One roughly hewn syllable named it, “
the cry of a young warrior who feels the pull of sinew as
he withdraws his short stabbing assegai
But filling the pockets
of his old bush-shirt required thought. There was a grubby handkerchief,
matches, a torch, and a ball of twine ending in a hook tied in another cloth.
He looked up on the wall, considered taking his .22 rifle. Of course. He’
never use it. That would wake somebody up. But the Bush was the Bush. Father
had told him that, always. He slung it over his shoulder, muzzle down.
Bushman-style. There was no rain tonight. The air would be clear and crisp,
carrying the slightest sound for miles. If he wanted the world, it was out
there for him!
Carefully he raised the
sash and cautiously looked up and down the wide verandah that ran around three
sides of the house. All was quiet. The light of the full moon shone down from a
cloudless sky, casting long shadows which might to another eye have concealed
all manner of things. But not to the Boy. He knew his own backyard. No movement
among the outbuildings. Way out across the Bush the square windows of the
native huts, the kayas
, were dark and empty. He knew Samson would be on
guard somewhere, but he was pretty sure that he’
d see the glow of his
fag quite a long way off. No. All he had to do was let the yard dogs know he
was coming. He gave the soft cough of a feral dog. They would hear him, and
know it was him. They would probably not even stir.
He lifted one leg over
the sill. Hoisted the rifle. Still poised to duck back in should he hear any
movement, see any sign. Right. Go. Judy leaped out after him to stand on the
bare boards of the high rafted verandah. This was the family’
during the hot humid Summer months. Everyone seemed to have made their
favourite place somewhere along its
length. GranMa had her rocker near
the front door where she could see everything that went on anywhere that
counted. From there she could shout right along the long corridor for Maria the
the little housemaid, or Philemon the House-Boy. She had such a presence, had
GranMa. She was so strict. So strict that every now and then he had to remember
GranMa was from Home, a
world far softer and far more pleasant than this land. She had only joined them
when she had been promised – by an unenthusiastic Father – that “
course you won’
t see any nasty snakes. You’
ll be living with us
in a nice normal home.”
Well, she hadn’
seen any real snakes. Yet. Of course, there was the time they drove into Town
to do some shopping and left the old lady quietly dozing in her old Rocker,
content with the world. They had quite a lot to do that day, and the Boy
visited friends from school while Mother shopped and Father did some business.
They all met up and ate in Father’
s Club before going out as a family to
see the sights. Grand fun. It was late when they returned. GranMa was still in
her rocker, dead to the world, a contented smile on her weathered old face.
But above her dangled a
s skin from the timber rafters of the verandah. Not just any old
s skin; but a monster of a snake’
s skin. It must have taken
ages for the snake to shed it, and she dozing unawares all the time! It was
ginormous! All three of them looked at each other. They were all asking the
It was Father who took
he said. “
s right above her
head. No getting that away without disturbing her.”“
We have to get Ma inside without her seeing it?”
s the idea,”
That WAS ten minutes he
could remember all right! It was a very, very, private family joke now, but all
he had to do if GranMa became too uppity was Remember-the-Snake. It was all the
three of them had to do!
The household was
really run by Philemon. Philemon was an immensely dignified figure who ordered
the household with an outward show of controlled ferocity. After all, everyone
knew he had been the Heavyweight Champion for the entire District in his time.
There were quite a few betting men among Father’
s friends who would
still relish putting a few quid on Philemon either way. But the Boy thought he knew
him. He was a good bloke and a great chum.
Off to one side was
s favourite old wooden rocking chair, with his pipe-stand and big
old mahogany ashtray. The boards there were scuffed and bore countless little
match-burns. Mother was always trying to sneak a reed mat in under his feet but
Father had this way of getting rid of it somehow in a way that nobody ever saw.
And there was his table, when he was home it was piled high with books and
magazines. His radio was in its
leather case, tuned to the BBC no doubt.
There was always some news about the War in Asia.
Tom was out there.
Serving his Queen and Country. Oh, it was wonderful to get his letters. Always
full of adventures and little anecdotes about The Exotic East. The Boy had
looked up every town that Tom had been to. Oh, what a life Tom was having. It
sounded just like a perpetual big-game hunt, except the British Government was
footing all his bills. And the game was unpredictable. Man-eaters. Armed with
tooth and claw, but also with Kalashnikovs. But it was their bush-skill against
all those African boys who had joined up after the party to beat all parties at
the rugger club.
Those African youths
had no doubt who would win in any contest. And now they were putting the
insurgents to the test.“
Come on, Tom, “
what are you waiting for?”
they had yelled across the bar. And with his lop-sided grin, Tom had moved over
to join his peers as with whoops and yells they had driven into Town and woken
up the Recruiting Officer. Blearily he had looked at their boyish, ruddy, fit
young faces, shining with sweat and with beer.
Oh, that made a great
story, that did. That was his Big Brother, that was.
And Father listened
every night to the news. The successes, the casualties, if any. Soon they’
have Television, they said. The Boy was really excited about that. But somehow
despite all that he had read, and knew, about TV, he still couldn’
imagine such a flickering black and white screen out here in his home. Not
really in The House on the Hill. Still, there was Father’
Bringing him news from all over the world. The TV would serve the same purpose.
And Father would get to see the match strokes, too. Mad on cricket was Dad. He
was always hoping to hear a good cricket score. Probably why he was the eternal
optimist that he was, grinned the Boy to himself.
Meanwhile Mother had
made her more genteel space just opposite Father’
s. When The Man was
away, all she had to do was swivel slightly in her chair, and she had almost
the entire valley spread below her.
The House stood high on
a spur of the hill, smooth rounded rock jutting out over the veldt. Mother
could gaze for miles over the endless grasslands spotted with isolated thorn
clumps or baobab.
Or watch for movement
in the quick little stream darting down the hillside beside her to be suddenly
brought to a halt by the hot earth of the plain. After collecting itself in a
little pool right at the rock’
s edge, it began, much more slowly now, to
move across her front to join a larger stream flowing down at the bottom of the
slope, a sluggish river then, marked all along its length by a fringe of more
intense greenery and by trees.
dam on the river was as much to catch seasonal rainfall as to delay the river.
The tall water-tank above the house and the borehole with its fitful windmill
never allowed the family to forget that it was water that allowed them to
survive out here in the parched bush. Father’
s drilled waterholes dotted
across the plain helped both stock and game to make it through the long dry.
But Mother rarely took
much notice of the little river or the stream or of the trees spotted across
the plain, the denser patches of Bush, or of the gently moving dots that were
cattle. Nor of the hazy purple mountains far away across the plain. The Bush
was thicker there, fed by little streams that trickled down from the mountains
but soon soaked away in the red soil. Father did not farm up close to the
mountains. Far away were the rising plumes of smoke from kraals
villages. No. She was looking down the drive. Towards the Town about a day’
horseback ride away in The Old Days.
She could observe
almost the whole length of The Drive, which left the Main Road from the Town about three miles
distant. It was the bringer of excitement, of people and of all sorts of
In the dry winter
months, a little spurt of dust was the first sign of a car or lorry turning off
from the road onto the dirt drive. The Boy knew when to expect Father and would
usually be high on the hillside at the mouth of His Place, watching. By the
time his Morris had moved up to the House in low gear, the boy would already
have scrambled and climbed and run down to the House. Letting himself in
through the kitchen he would pass Maria, the cook, with a happy “
and rush through to the washroom. A quick dowse and flick and a
careful rush along the long corridor to his bedroom. There he would wait until
Philemon announced the coming of The Man, the Lord, N’kosi
a loud clanging of the old ship’
s bell, Birky, which hung beside the
front door. He knew too that Philemon would wait till the last possible minute
before ringing Birky, until he was quite sure that the Boy was ready and
It was the signal for
Mother to appear, cool and collected as usual, and the Boy was expected to take
her hand as they stood together on the verandah waiting as Father, the Man,
swung the Morris in a wide curve below them, angling the car for it’
final climb up to the spur. Then the Man’
s face would be frowning in
concentration as he placed the Morris Just So in the flat open space beneath
the verandah. Then the Man would climb out, straighten his rumpled safari
jacket, and look up at them.
His was a short pugnacious
figure, broad and muscular for all his medium height, burnt a deep, deep brown
wherever the sun had managed to reach him – the boy had seen him taking an
impromptu shower under the garden standpipe after a long day’
in the fields and had wondered at the contrast between the reddish pink of the
rest of him compared to those bits exposed to countless days spent in the
African sun. His face was prematurely wrinkled by that same sun, his eyes
squinting through the white glare. It made him look sterner and older than he
was. When he looked up at Mother and the Boy, his whole face lit up, and he
grinned boyishly so very like the Boy’
s older brother Tom. He would
shout their names, drop the briefcase that he had begun to haul over the passenger
seat towards him, and bound up the stairs to them.
First he would hug
Mother, but soon he would grab the Boy’
s hand, and whirl him round,
asking as many excited questions as the Boy would. Then....but that was last
time. And countless other times before that. Soon The Man would be Home again.
Bounding up onto the long verandah like the boy’
s Best Friend that he
Father often took the
Boy out with him on his long train journeys around the country, even into
neighboring colonies. The one thing that the Boy remembered most was the little
black children who flocked the dusty little stations, the big eyes and begging
hands. Especially when the Bush around that station looked very dry. He never
mentioned it to his Father. He believed Father would know how he felt anyway.
The picture just became another part of himself.
The Boy had made his
corner of the verandah right here, under his bedroom window, right at the back.
The little stream wound down from the hill past his corner, and divided the
garden from the homes of the Blacks down on the more fertile soil of the plain
across the river. He could keep an eye on most of the farm buildings, garages,
and outhouses at the back too, as well as looking over the plain. The Drive was
around the corner, best seen from the front of the verandah.
The Boy still stood on
the boards, listening; looking. Judy was delicately poised too; ears cocked,
tail stiff. Finally she gave a very soft little whine.“Yebo
repeated, and stepped over the rail. And tonight the moon was up. The Game was
Down they crept through
the moonlit garden to the plank bridge over the stream that Phineas, the
carpenter, had rebuilt only last year. Before that there had been only stepping
The Boy had asked
Father if he might help Phineas during his school holidays, and when Father had
it had been so very, very real. In his mind’
eye, he had been a Roman legionnaire laying the path for the legions to follow.
Or his Grandfather, the engineer who led the first pioneers to this alien land,
his eye always on the lookout for the slither of a greased body; the hiss of a
thrown spear. Or the sudden stab of the assegai
whose spirit was truly
I have Eaten.”
Yes, Roman or Bush warrior, the tricks were
the same, the danger just as real and exciting.
He crossed the bridge.
Suddenly a glow flickered brightly, and died back. Samson smoking a cigarette.
The Boy dropped to the ground. He did not want to talk to grownups tonight.
Tonight he wanted to be wherever the night was to take him, whatever the night
was to make him.
Judy had dropped on her
belly beside him, motionless. Here, on this side of the bridge, across from the
garden, there was scant cover. Bare rock with occasional patches of grass or
bushes clinging on to life in crevices and cracks. He would not be getting his
shirt or shorts dirty tonight – especially if he were to climb the hill, up to
His Place above the dam. He had spent most of the afternoon there, alone with
his books and his thoughts. At night the people of the farm could not bother
he murmured. Judy cocked her head, made no
other movement. The burning tip of the cigarette swung away from him. He heard
the scuffling of sandals growing fainter. Good. The last rounded bulge of the
smooth rock was just ahead now. The two snaked their way to the sudden drop. To
one side was the cut. Gigantic steps cut through it made their way downwards to
the orange sand below. Smooth, worn stairs. Worn not by feet but by water,
Father had told him. Either the stream’
s old course, or cut by heavier
rains or the flash floods of long ago, it led down to the dry donga
ravine. The donga
did not meander across the plain like the river, but
sliced down through it like a sword cut. Although it reached the bottom of the
rock only a few hundred yards from the river, it cut away almost at right
angles. It was the Boy’
s own highway, dark and secretive.
Deep and steep-sided,
s rays only reached down to the bottom at true noon – not the
nonsense time told by watches and Schoolmasters; but the real time of the Sun.
There the Boy could walk unseen by man or beast. There was simply nothing for
any such there. Water ages ago had carried off any soft rock or soil. The wind
kept it clear. Almost nothing grew. The stone was baking hot, even now at
night, in the wet summer of the Long Hols. The heat soaked into it. It was the
way he knew the whole Land had once been. Then had come the simplest little
plants, then the tiny crawling things, and then – maybe just as the donga
was being cut – his own ancestors, primitive ape-like creatures. But they had
never mucked around with his donga
! No. It cut straight on through the
bush, for miles and miles and miles, right under the road, which was carried
high above by an ugly concrete bridge. This was where the school bus dropped
him off each afternoon when he was a junior at the Town school, before he was
old enough to be a boarder in the City. It was only a little further to walk than
being dropped off a few minutes earlier at the gates at the head of The Drive.
He had had to convince Mother and the Driver that it was just as safe as
walking up The Drive – and a jolly sight cooler, too!
Father had understood.
He had walked it many times with the Boy and Judy. He had pointed out the
layers of different rocks sliced through by the waters. He had told him the
names of the few simple little plants that clung to the sides. He had known
that as soon as the Boy returned Home he would ask permission to enter the
Study. There he would find the Encyclopaedia Britannica
, and the
household would not see the Little N’kosi
many, many hours.
Myriad feet had left no
sign of their passing. The floor of the donga
was bare. Hard impenetrable
rock. Scoured. A few lizards scurried away from them, like miniature dinosaurs.
The very ancientness of it all fed the Boy’
s imagination. And the quiet.
Your thoughts could go anywhere in the donga
. Alone, in the darkness, he
could imagine far ahead of him the sound of marching feet echoing back through
Occasionally he was
sure that they might just be carrying the lost Eagles of the Ninth Legion up
through a rocky Caledonian glen. He could smell the stink of sweat on leather,
the weapon grease. But no, the best place to find those earthy, cussing
Italians was in a book, turning the pages alone in his High Place on the
hillside from where he could see for miles, and in his imagination, see even
further still, across the distant mountains away to the sea beyond, and even
further still, to those distant islands far to the North, which Father called
These marching feet, so
real to him, were probably a disciplined impi
of the Old Zulu King,
Cetshwayo, marching off to face the Gatling guns of the Queen’
Redcoats, or the wounding fire of his Grandfather’
s irregular Horse. But
the feet were never of defeated warriors. Always, however doomed, he only heard
the sound of men preparing themselves for glory. He heard catches of song on
the wind, although he could never make out words or the language. It was the
sound that thrilled him.
Walking the donga
was not dangerous. Few animals came there. He could see and not be seen. Every
so often he could clamber up the steep sides and peer over the edge at the
world of Man and of Beast. Neither minded him much. They nearly all knew him –
if they saw him at all. And anyway, that was the last place they would expect
danger. The days of outlawed men threatening a schoolboy were still far off.
His world was what he made of it and what it made of him.
But that night, he was
restless. Both the donga
and the higher hills were places where he lived
his own private daytime world. Not that night. That night, Judy made up his
mind for him. Down below, amongst the Africans’
homes, was a tough
little something of a dog. Nobody minded Judy’
s doggy likes or dislikes
since her visit to the vet, not even Mother. She whimpered, and the Boy
The little dog belonged
to one of his earliest boyhood chums, Gideon. They had been inseparable,
swimming naked together in the dam, throwing passes with an old rugger ball at
each other, tackling with fierce disdain for injury on the iron-hard earth.
Then, at about the time the Boy left to board in the City, Gideon had graduated
with his Junior School Certificate from the Farm School
of which Father was the Patron and begun work on the farm in earnest. No longer
during the holidays could the Boy go up to this man working in the fields and
ask him to come out and play. Nobody told him this. He simply knew it was not
the done thing. It would be a caddish thing to do. He and Gideon always nodded
in passing and talked at idle moments – but something in their relationship had
been lacking for a while. The Boy understood Judy’
For Gideon had a younger sister, Miriam. And to the Boy she too was beautiful.
Not knowing exactly
what he was going to do when he got there, he allowed Judy her head. Keeping a
wary eye out for Samson (he wasn’
t a chain smoker, after all and might
move without the glow of a fag-end), they moved down silently to the cluster of
homes below them.
Each one was square and
single-storied, white-washed brick with high ceilings to keep in the cool shade
from the stoep
that fronted them. All were similar, except for the
s. It was larger and had a very imposing chimney. Father had
worked to a plan when he had built them. The carpenter and the animal doctor
had made their homes a bit posher by painting them a shocking pink and picking
out their window frames and doors in a brilliant white. Definitely not the
original decoration envisaged by Father when he had replaced the old grass
Then there was the
schoolhouse. The old teacher, retired now from his job in the crowded, bustling
urban slums, lived there alone. He had been recommended to Father by a friend.
For all his
imagination, for all his love of The Past, the Boy had never been able to see
Father as a Feudal Lord. But perhaps that was why Father was The Man. The Boy
knew all the houses in that dark cluster of buildings. He knew every family
that lived in them; he knew some of their happiness and a little of their
sadness. Just as they did his. And that of his family.
What the Boy did not
pick up through gossip and chatting, he heard at the regular indaba
Assembly of the people meeting together with Father, their N’kosi
Master. Then Father wore his stern serious face reserved for others. It was
usually a low-key affair in which matters which need not concern the
authorities were raised and discussed. Only rarely were decisions reached.
Slowly, gradually, as the people spoke, the opinions amongst the onlookers, the
jury, would harden, Finally a sort of consensus would be reached, usually
including even the wrongdoer. He – or she – would often propose his or her own
punishment or compensation for the aggrieved.
Rarely did the headman
or Father have much to say then. Their role was more to bring order and
legitimacy to the proceedings. The Boy was often confused. Sometimes he would
believe a man to be wholly in the right, but when, ever so gradually, feeling
against him would grow, the Boy saw the man suddenly crumble. From then on, the
man was lost. The Boy was brought up on a more combative literature. He often
wanted to shout that this was not the way a Roman senator would behave, or an
English gentleman for that matter. Ever since attending his first indaba
he had become a devotee of legal cases reported in the local papers. This had
nothing to do with the idea that every Freeborn Englishman was innocent until
proven guilty. And bore scant regard for Roman dignitas
either. But he
had never spoken at the indaba.
Especially after that
time, many months ago, when a young man who had spent two years away down the
mines and had returned home with money to fund his lobola
, his bride
price. He had done wrong. This proud young man had rejected the “
of his peers, and had demanded justice in the White Man’
s Court in the
Town. He had had his hearing, his day in court. And found himself leaving under
armed guard to begin two year’
s Hard Labour.
The Boy had spoken to
his policeman uncle about that recently but was laughingly referred to his
Father, who in turn had said that he knew nothing more than the Boy had heard
for himself. It was very difficult, this choosing between right and wrong. The
ideas seemed very clear cut. He had always understood and believed in them. He
believed what Father and the Schoolmasters had taught him, that English Common
Law was founded on ordinary decent common sense, as amended by Parliament to
keep it abreast of changing times in a changing world.
The Boy knew that these
Africans people lived by Destiny. His own People too, before their conversion
to Christianity by Roman and Celtic missionaries, had believed in Wyrd, that
invisible all-powerful force which guided everything. It lay behind the
lightning in the sky and Thunor’
s thunder, but was unknowable, unseen,
yet it ruled all things and all people. Wyrd gave life or death. It lay behind
the epic poetry of the Old English. They had recited poems such as the “
in the great halls of their people and understood the tragedy
that was about to unfold as the brave heroes fought gallantly against the
Norsemen, only to die to a man around their lord. That was Wyrd.
Echoes remained in his
own culture still.
But here in Africa, these Matabele were not deciding cases by his law
but by their own law, which grew out of their own culture. It was a culture
that he had grown up alongside and often lived by. His heart and his mind were
at sixes and sevens. His friends were not his people, and his people were not
his friends, but he had few friends amongst THEM
There was Gideon’
house. And there was the window of the room which Gideon shared with his
The old signal?
He picked up a pebble,
threw it at Gideon’
s window. Counted ten, threw another. There was a
hand behind the moonlit glass.
The Boy backed up
beyond earshot. Waited. Judy sat still beside him, her ears cocked. Soon he saw
dark movement behind the house. Silently he waited. The moving shadow parted
s dog going ahead and slightly to the left; Gideon
following with almost exaggerated caution. They disappeared into a fold of
ground. Then the two boys were together. The two dogs began their friendly
ritual, noiselessly. Tails wagged. The two boys closed in the Darkness. The
Game was on!What Readers Say about The Colonial Boy
This incredible book is written with a unique style which befits
its magnificent story.
The eponymous Boy has a background wrought in a rich British
culture in Africa where he is brought up
alongside his friend Gideon whose home is a far cry from Boy's powerful
colonial home set high on a hill.
But Boy develops strong ideals from an early age and with Gideon,
and Boy's faithful canine friend, Jude, they go through the earlier particles
of life firm friends. But the comrades develop differently as does their
Boy experiences love and tragedy. Civil war involves him and
Gideon; the havoc it wreaks is what formulates a great literary work written by
one who was brought up amongst the backdrops about which he writes so brilliantly.
This rich tapestry takes us all over the world as we travel with
Boy. Geoffrey Storey writes of Africa . 'The
panorama that spread before him was one that was a part of him. This was Africa ”
The end of the story is totally unexpected yet once the reader has
imbibed hungrily of every word there could be no other conclusion.
Geoffrey Storey grew up in Africa
in the 1960s and 1970s, every subject he has touched on is knowledgeable,
interesting and a joy to read. His direct command of storytelling decrees that
this historian's work is a top of the range book which is also a well produced
publication. It is well worth mentioning the delightful thumbnail prints
which precede each chapter and form yet another example of fine work of
the graphic designer.
Colonial Boy has been welcomed throughout the world. It is a must
for everyone's book shelf. I fully recommend it and look forward to Storey's
next book regaling the adventures of early settlers in England .~ Joan Stockdale
Author & Specialist Book Reviewer•
“His experiences shape him as he grows by stages from boyhood
through youth to young manhood, his rites of passage set against a background
of love, hate and pitiless civil war. Wonderful writing, a warm and honest
style true to the man, who has wt forgotten the boy in him.”
~ Kurt Shoemaker, Texas