THE PACT by James Ambrose Brown


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This manages to define some of the major areas of conflict in modern Africa but one could slip an elephant unnoticed through the holes in the plot. The pact is predictably made between white Boer descendant Chris Murray and Jonathan Nkosi, Zulu teacher. They meet on the road to Basutoland, the ""rock fortress in the clouds,"" a habitat of the rebel African revolutionary Makofane. Chris has witnessed Makofane's devastating influence during a massacre that killed 453 men, women and children including Chris' own wife and unborn child. Haunted by the notion that he should ... could have done something on that terrible night, Chris is on his way to assassinate Makofane. Nkosi was almost victimized by a similar blood-letting that killed his father, only this one was instigated by trigger-happy white policemen. Nkosi has since become a disciple of Makofane and is on his way to receive his first assignment. His target turns out to be Murray but after having shared experiences--Murray steals Nkosi's car; Nkosi reciprocates later in what can only be described as heroic altruism by saving Murray's life--(dragging him miles through an early snowfall--a feat that costs Nkosi his legs); huddling together for warmth etc., Nkosi can't pull the trigger. They go to martyrdom in newfound brotherhood but actually the total effect is that you've been reading a racial western.

Publisher: Putnam