KING OF THE BASTARDS by Sarah Gertrude Millin


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I found this very dull reading- and that in spite of a bias in favor of Sarah Gertrude Millin as interpreter of various facets of South African life and history. No doubt this too is rooted in profound sympathy and understanding of the conflicts that have gone into the composition of that strange part of the world, now known as the Transvaal, she has, in this novel, let her story- if story there is- bog down in the mass of detail of petty strife among native peoples,- the Kaffirs, the Zulus, the Hottentots,- and the invading English and Dutch. But chiefly it is the story of the hybrids, descendants of Cornad de Buys, first white man of the Transvaal, and his black women. This is Buys' story:- his youth and the forces that pushed him outside the circle of the whites; his growing family, known as the Bastards; his changing loyalties, now to one native chieftain, now another, whose faith in his leadership was part veneration for his color, part for the knowledge he could share with them; his link with his own race through the missionary, Dr. van der Kamp; his fiery zeal, changing over to violent distaste. Chiefly Coread is shown in his amazing maintenance of prestige among those he served as brother-advisor- tutor, aiding them to oppose the encroaching whites. Always he lived with his wagons his castle; his clan, his kingdom. And he became a legend, in his lifetime. The reader finds that interest lags with multiplicity of repetitive detail.

Pub Date: Feb. 16th, 1949
Publisher: Harper