Cloete, himself a South African, has steeped himself in his country's history, and turned it to good account in Turning Wheels and other novels of the troubled years of Boer-British struggles for dominance in South Africa. Now -- in the interlocking stories of three dominant figures of that time and place, he has shared his findings. In Lobengula he has given us the dramatic story of a native ruler, rescued from imminent death in childhood by a white girl captive, and -- in maturity -- standing out against the encroachment of the whites, both Boer and English. Greatest emphasis is laid, however, on Paul Kruger, the Com Paul of his novels, Boer farmer, politician, organizer, defender of the cause of liberty and independence, a spiritual force, a leader when war was precipitated, Civil Wars, wars against natives, and two Boer-British wars. Then -- an opposing force -- Cecil Rhodes, enormously successful from the standpoint of wealth, but caring for money only as it meant power. IN the gold fields and the diamond mines he saw road to Empire, the beginnings of power politics as Britain, Germany, France, Belgium vied for control. Cecil Rhodes had a gift for friendship -- sometimes, as with Jameson, a friend betrayed Rhodes' ambitions. The conflict between Rhodes and Kruger was inevitable -- with Rhodes modern fascism began -- and Rhodesia proved the cockpit of Africa. In Kruger Democracy had its leader. Both men loved Africa, but Rhodes sold Africa short, and it devolved upon Smuts to achieve a measure of unity....A rich and unusual background, but the average reader will find it involved, almost confusing reading.