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The Last Savanna by Mike Bond

Mike Bond has outdone himself with the adventure thriller “The Last Savanna” which has just been published by Mandevilla Press.  The saga chronicles the rapid death of the Kenyan savanna as desperate tribal poaching parties from Somalia and the Sudan infiltrate the Kenyan game preserves and wild savanna areas to hunt elephants and rhinos for their tusks.  African elephants and rhinos are fast disappearing and Bond has made the problem starkly evident through the medium of the adventure thriller.

From start to finish Bond makes the reader feel as if each character is being stalked by a lion and that at any moment any person or beast may be swiftly dispatched by the most efficient killing machine on the savanna, the lion.  By comparison, humans are messy killers.  The desperate plunderers from poorer neighboring countries invade the Kenyan savanna just to take the parts of their kill that are most valuable on the black market.  They leave the meat and skin of their prey to the scavengers.  To the Somalian tribesmen the ivory they plunder represent the ability to pay a bride price without having to wait years to build herds of goats.  For other hunters the raids into the Kenyan savanna represents the only opportunity to feed their starving families.  The money from these raids ultimately winds up funding terrorist operations for Al Qaeda and other groups.

From the point of view of the Kenyan authorities these foreign poachers are destroying the Kenyan savanna ecosystem and destroying the Kenyan economy along with their lucrative tourist trade.  They are also sensitive to the international terrorist operations that are funded through the work of the poachers. The government wants these poachers caught or, better yet, killed on sight.  One of the men called into service to hunt the poachers is Ian MacAdam, a former SAS 0fficer and Kenyan rancher.  He is reluctant to go along for he no longer has any taste for killing bad guys, but when he learns that the Somali poachers have killed a party of archaeologists and have killed or captured a former flame of his, MacAdam is on board to track down the poachers clear to Somali if necessary.

Most readers will not be able to put this tense, highly descriptive thriller down.  Those who like to see happy endings will be disappointed, that is, unless the reader is cheering for the lion or the hyena to win.  This is very definitely a tale of the survival of the fittest.

Bond is an authority on Africa.  At the age of 19 he set off on foot across the Sahara and later explored thousands of miles of African deserts, jungles and savannas.  He has also been involved in Kenyan military operations against poachers, so he has poured much of his experience into this story.

Recommended.  “The Last Savanna” is one of the best thrillers of the past year and one that can teach the reader a lot about the current ecological and socio-economic state of sub-saharan Africa.

Reviewed with a supplied copy.

Liz Nichols

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