Title: Far in the Wilds (A Spear of Summer Grass 0.5)
Author: Deanna Raybourn
Publisher: Harlequin Mira
How I Read It: downloaded free ebook
Genre: Historical Fiction
My Rating: 3.5 Crowns
New York Times bestselling author Deanna Raybourn takes readers into Africa during the height of British colonialism, to meet a man as wild as the land he loves in this prequel novella….
Kenya, 1918 Ryder White is Canadian by birth but African by choice. He is more at home in the wilds of the savannah, shooting and sleeping his way across the continent, than amongst the hedonistic colonists of Kenyan society.
In a landscape where one false move can cost a man his life, Ryder’s skill as a guide is unparalleled, but only the rich or royal can afford his services. When a European prince hires Ryder to help him hunt an elusive jaguar Ryder thinks it’s just another well-paying job with yet another spoiled voyeur. But this perilous journey is full of dangers that may change Ryder forever…. (taken from the e-book)
Novella’s are often hard to rate as they are so short but this was truly such a lovely little standalone story within its short 54 pages is a quick escapism over a cup of tea. What it does is whet your appetite, give you a taste of things to come in Raybourn’s “A Spear of Summer Grass” (which I consequently read, loved and recommend. This is indeed a most worthy prequel.
I am partial to all things African (having lived and worked there) and was transported back to the ‘dark continent’ through Ryder’s eyes. This was my first Raybourn book (famed for her Lady Julia Grey series) and it left me wanting more. She has an evocative style that bought to life British Colonial Kenya – the look, sounds, smells – all vividly bought to mind.
Not only that but the characters were engaging: Ryder the quintessential hunter who must cater to a Prince in search of a leopard kill. Then there is Tusker and Jude who were the kind of women that were made for the tough conditions of African living. Let’s not forget Gideon, Ryder’s friend and Maasai guide.
“Africa is the most romantic place on earth …. a land of dreams and memories. It is rifts of remembrance stitched together with the sighs of time.”
This novella is a free download, with an excerpt from “A Spear of Summer Grass” and I highly recommend you dive into colonial Africa as soon as possible.
Reviewed by Helen