And in Peter Vollmer’s historical adventure, The Gunrunners there are plenty of corrupt government officials and businessmen among the colonists only too ready to line their pockets by supplying the weaponry sought by the rebellious tribesmen.
Werner von Dewitz, a young German officer in the army of Kaiser Wilhelm II, arrives in the continent assigned the task of infiltrating a gunrunning operation that is causing political turmoil when it crosses borders between German and Portuguese regions. In particular, the guns are being sold to the Herero, one of the dominant native tribes revolting against the imperialism that oppresses them.
Fluent in several languages, Dewitz masquerades as a Portuguese manufacturing representative, to secretly penetrate the Angolan gunrunners’ network while working with military officers and intelligence agents of the two countries in his relentless pursuit of the outlaws.
Posing as Joachim de Almeida, he sets up a deal with the repulsive and dangerous Antonio dos Santos whose beautiful mulatto wife Maria, quickly sees in the dashing von Dewitz a means of escape from her brute of a husband.
But von Dewitz has already stoked up a fledgling romance with mission-bound Dr Dorothea Eggers whom he met aboard ship on his way out and subsequently rescued when their train to the capital was attacked by rebels.
What unfolds is a perilous journey in which von Dewitz must endure fierce battles and a terrible infection that instigates yet another chance encounter with the lovely but initially less pliant passenger from the ship.
Can von Dewitz outwit the stop-at-nothing dos Santos who seems to know his every move?
And what lies in store for Maria and Dorothea who both play key roles in his quest?
Utterly realistic and thoroughly absorbing, The Gunrunners elegantly blends the distasteful realities of Europe’s colonial past with an upbeat, modern outlook on human relationships.
From the Author:
The inspiration for writing The Gun Runners:
“I retired ten years ago and to keep myself occupied, I decided that I should try my hand again at writing a novel. Wilbur Smith’s “When the Lions Feed” appeared in 1964 but was banned in South Africa. This alone had many a young man scrambling to get his hands on a copy! I loved the book and a read all the novels that followed. Reading those first few books of his was akin to living in South Africa at the time, they’re so descriptive, it’s obvious the author had grown up in the wilderness of Africa.
I’m of German descent and still speak the language, this a contributing factor, as it was the language spoken at home when still a young child. It was also then, that I was exposed to the old German customs and etiquette that prevailed when Wilhem II was still emperor of the then German Empire, as was the case in my grandfather’s home where I lived.
The civil war in Namibia when it was still known as German South West Africa always interested me as when a child at my grandfather’s table, he and his guests, many of them ex-soldiers and colonists, would reminisce about the past, the civil war, and their many experiences.
They would talk about the old coal-burning steamships, the horses having to be off-loaded from the ships using barges pulled through the huge breakers, the long journey through the desert to the hinterland, the ambushes, the rigid class distinction between the officers and soldiers, and the excessive drinking there little else for the men to do.
They would undertake long trips into the wilderness and where they experienced the most incredible adventures, these now further aggrandized when again called to mind when at the table – they were all an endless source of inspiration, so much so, a series of novels could be written.
I too have travelled and camped in the bush, the Namib Desert, the Skelton Coast, in Angola and the incredible stillness and desolation and have endured the hardships associated with what has so aptly been described as the land God gave to Cain. It possesses a wild beauty difficult to find anywhere else in the world. I was truly privileged to have grown up there.
It is this that inspired me to write the novel.”
Praise for The Gun Runners:
‘Thrillers in lesser hands read like research reports. Vollmer knows the areas and locations of which he writes and this allows him to utilize those snippets and scratches to great effect.’ – David Baclaski, Screenwriter, New York
‘Vollmer has little time for poetic pleasantries, as his writing is tough and terse in a way that is reminiscent of Mickey Spillane, Ted Lewis, and other “hardboiled” thriller writers.’- Benjamin Welton, Writer & Lecturer, Boston University
‘Relentless Pursuit is rich high adventure of the old-fashioned variety with well-sketched characters, continually shifting rough and wild settings, and trails winding through political corruption, conflicting loyalties, and impassioned duels with both European and native weapons of war. It reads like a classic that could have been written during the time in which it is set and is well worth wider appreciation.’ – Dr. Wesley Britton, the author of author of The Encyclopaedia of TV Spies
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Publisher: Endeavour Press
Publication Date: September 12, 2016