Books by Bartle Bull

Bartle Bull is the author of the widely praised African novels The White Rhino Hotel, A Café on the Nile, and The Devil's Oasis as well as Safari: A Chronicle of Adventure. Bull is a member of the Royal Geographical Society and the Explorers Club and was


SHANGHAI STATION by Bartle Bull
Released: Feb. 1, 2004

"Not terribly tense, and there's more than a whiff of prewar Hollywood in the stagy dialogue. Maybe a sequel will pick up steam."
Fleeing Russia and rampaging Bolsheviks, a count and his son set up shop as aristotrainers in 1918 Shanghai, a city with plenty of ethnopolitical problems of its own. Read full book review >
THE DEVIL’S OASIS by Bartle Bull
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 1, 2001

Final installment of Bull's Africa trilogy, begun with the well-received The White Rhino Hotel (1992). That volume, set on the Kenyan frontier at the end of WWI, was a racy, cracking affair that immersed you in a spectacularly self-involved group of English expatriates, including Anton Rider, who was busy chasing the married Gwen Llewellyn. In A Café on the Nile (1998), set in 1935, professional safari guide Rider was obsessed with estranged wife Gwen, while other group members carried on with their wild agendas. The wind-up, set in 1942, shows Rommel's desert war sweeping through everyone's life. Anton's son, Wellington Rider, fights with the French Foreign Legion as Rommel captures Tobruk—and Gwen sleeps with a Nazi sympathizer. Dangerous mines may go off anywhere in these intrigues. Distinguished. Read full book review >
THE WHITE RHINO HOTEL by Bartle Bull
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 1, 1992

First fiction, set at the end of WW I, in which a frontier Kenyan hotel provides rest, shelter, and large drinks to a fugitive Gypsy, wounded Tommies, murderous Irishmen, scheming Portuguese colonials, displaced Germans, an American cowboy, and a pretty Welsh woman. Bull's nonfiction Safari (1988) covered some of the same geography. Having sold the bulk of his British estate and mismanaged his plantation ventures, Adam Penfold finds that his fortune has dwindled to the White Rhino, a hotel in the Kenyan highlands. Lord Penfold and his oppressively horsy lady Sissy preside over the place, leaving management to their major-domo Olivio, a dwarf whose spying and sexual skills are state of the art. As there is much to spy out and many itches to scratch, Olivio is a very busy man. The end of the war has brought a new wave of settlers to the colony, hopeful men and women who are about to find out that the rich Kenyan soils are very choosy about what crops they'll support and that the old Kenyan colonials can be as treacherous as the worst villains in Europe. Anton Rider, with his gypsy skills and restless intelligence, is one of the few immigrants truly suited to the whims of Africa. Dashing Anton has become smitten with Gwenn Llewellyn, who has joined her badly crippled husband to carve out a new life and who has already made a couple of very dangerous enemies in a pair of violent Irish brothers. Adam and Gwenn are made for each other, but before they sort things out, there are swamps to ford, savannahs to cross, dalliances to be enjoyed, pythons to wrestle, elephants to cook, and legal business to sort out. Very nicely done. Bull has sensibly resisted the temptation to turn his racy African adventures into a sweeping, gabby epic, so everything moves at a cracking pace. Much ground is covered, but since the time is short, the stories are well contained. Read full book review >