Catalogue - New Works (Ficton & non-ficton)

Come break a Spear
by Ivan Smith

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Books of Zimbabwe, 1980.
197 x 125 mm, vi, 232 pp.
ISBN (Pbk) 0 949931 04 7.

An alternative title to this exciting new work could have been PATU Stick Whiskey Charlie. This powerfully atmospheric piece of writing by a new Zimbabwean author vividly portrays the cruel cat-and-mouse drama of the Rhodesian bush war. It marks Ivan Smith's debut as a writer, and the deceptively simple style of this former policeman shows great promise.

Ben and Josiya, have come to their look-out post in Rhodesian lowveld by separate roads, arrived at manhood by paths which have led from the golden years of their boyhood when they hunted together, to the war in which they found themselves members of the same PATU stick (Police Anti-Terrorist Unit). They have since worked together, for four years, and now they hunt men.... Somewhere a poison has seeped into the land....

When the enemy show, they will walk into action and after that? No; think only of today and tomorrow, not the future . . . men at war cannot think of the future.

And then there is this thing with Nick. Ben and Nick had encouraged each other's amorous adventures from the days when they were at school together, to their indiscriminate pleasuring of liberated ladies from the Copperbelt to Copenhagen. There were no problems until Nick married and his new wife met Ben ....

"When Smith writes about people and events he has experienced in his active life as a schoolboy, copper miner, soldier, drifter, Congo mercenary and policeman, he writes very well indeed."

"He deserves to achieve a notable success with this book and one can only hope that the indefinable something will persist and make his subsequent offerings as compelling. They are surely something to look forward to."

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