by Philip Danze
Category: Fiction / Historical
192 pages; ISBN: 0967185130
Rating: 9/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
GreyCore Press, Oct 2001, $23.00, 192 pp.
David Unger looks back to his youth in Africa when his dad dallied with Cecil Rhodes. He knows that the pivotal moment in his life was when he, a sixteen year old cadet; met the renowned explorer Maud King. David voluntarily became Maud’s personal “mailman” just to see his idol. As he matures, he begins to understand the spell his heroine inadvertently cast on him.
David turns from medicine to circus magician as he is in love with the intrepid much older Maud. Even being drafted by the English army to fight the Zulu insurrection against Anglicizing the African countryside and to defend claims to the diamond mines only impedes, but does not stop his love for the older woman that owns his heart; in her way Maud loved him back. David knows that no other woman compared.
CONJURING MAUD is a vividly descriptive account of life in late nineteenth century “British” Rhodesia and South Africa obviously through the loving first hand account of David, but also indirectly that of Maud and other key players. The tale provides a fabulously insightful look at 1880s Southern Africa through a scrutiny of a varied cast members to include miners struggling to hold onto diamond claims, British soldiers fighting a losing war to Anglicize the land (sound familiar?), and the various tribes squabbling whether to revolt or bow to the other continent Queen. This winning historical fiction is worth reading due to Africa, not Tarzan’s land or that of western propagandized White Burden onus, but as a beautiful land of diversity and conflict that shows how much Philip Danze enjoyed writing this labor of love.
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