BAGAMOYO: Here I Leave My Heart by Jock & Betty Leslie-Melville Leslie-Melville

BAGAMOYO: Here I Leave My Heart

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Scottish-blooded citizens of East Africa, the authors pad out this convivial family saga (1898 to just beyond the present) with Kenya experience, Happy Hour sentiment, and the faintest aftertaste of European moral rectitude. Dynasty founders Richard and Luke will meet in Mombasa in 1898: Richard, son of an Earl, is besotted with Africa, inspired by the tales of his Uncle Montague, a legendary Africa bwana; Luke is a Kikuyu orphan, rescued by missionaries from slavery and death. So Richard, looking for Uncle Montague and his wife (who succumbs to a lion or a cannibal at the foot of Kilimanjaro), joins Luke in becoming a railroad surveyor--and the railroad route (linking the coast with Uganda) is an obstacle course of sickness, hostile tribes, faulty tracks. (Luke will lose an eye to a poisoned arrow.) But Richard and Luke do finally run across linguist/explorer Uncle Montague: a blond, earring-wearing giant who appears and reappears throughout, Superman-fashion, worrying about a curse placed on him by Ugandan witch-doctor Kabu. (Montague and Kabu will have many edgy summit meetings and talisman-exchanges--including an old-age scheme to release Mau Mau tribesmen from their deadly oaths.) Meanwhile, love comes to Richard with missionary Ida: he'll lose her for a time, wander through Masai territory, finally find her again in London (where he's preparing a safari for Winston Churchill). Luke marries lovely Grace. And, after assorted wars, comes the deadly Man Mau crisis, of course: Richard is a victim--as Luke's daughter Sable, wife of the Mau Mau leader Kimathis, assists. But Richard's son Julian will help Luke's son Roan--who marries Richard's daughter and embarks on a political career that ends in Kenya's vice-presidency. Luxuriant with incidents, from the horrid and rousing to the informative and the cornball: not filling--but fun.

Pub Date: March 7th, 1983
Publisher: Morrow