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John Ames, Native Commissioner A Romance of the Matabele Rising   By: (1855-1914)

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John Ames, Native Commissioner is an enthralling novel written by Bertram Mitford, set during the Matabele Rising in Southern Africa. The book takes readers on a gripping journey through the troubled period of British colonialism, combining elements of adventure, romance, and political unrest.

The story revolves around the eponymous protagonist, John Ames, who works as a Native Commissioner in the region. Ames is a multifaceted character, a man torn between his sympathetic understanding of the native people and his loyalty to the British Empire. This internal struggle adds depth to his character, making him relatable and endearing to readers.

Mitford masterfully weaves historical events into the narrative, providing insights into the complexities of the Matabele Rising. The tension and uncertainty of the time are palpable throughout the book, creating an atmosphere of apprehension and volatility. The author's attention to detail and vivid descriptions of the African landscape transport readers right into the heart of the action.

What makes this novel truly captivating is the inclusion of a beautifully rendered love story. Ames falls in love with a local African woman named Nellie, challenging the societal norms and racial boundaries of the period. Their relationship adds a layer of poignant romance to the narrative, showcasing the power of love amidst the chaos of war.

Mitford's prose is both evocative and engaging. His vivid descriptions and well-paced plot make the story come alive, allowing readers to become immersed in the historical context. The author's authentic portrayal of the African culture and beliefs further enhances the overall reading experience, providing readers with a richly layered story.

While the novel impressively combines multiple genres, at times, the pacing may feel a bit uneven. Some sections are slow-paced, focusing on character development and relationships, while others are filled with action and suspense. However, this minor quibble does not detract from the overall enjoyment of the book.

In conclusion, John Ames, Native Commissioner is a riveting historical novel that skillfully intertwines adventure, romance, and political unrest. Mitford's masterful storytelling transports readers to a tumultuous period in Southern African history, where personal conflicts collide with societal expectations. With its engaging characters, vivid descriptions, and well-researched historical backdrop, this book is sure to captivate fans of historical fiction and romance alike.

First Page:

John Ames, Native Commissioner, by Bertram Mitford.




Madula's kraal, in the Sikumbutana, was in a state of quite unusual excitement.

The kraal, a large one, surrounded by an oval ring fence of thorn, contained some seventy or eighty huts. Three or four smaller kraals were dotted around within a mile of it, and the whole lay in a wide, open basin sparsely grown with mimosa and low scrub, shut in by round topped acacia grown hills bearing up against the sky line at no great distance.

The time was towards evening, usually the busy time of the day, for then it was that the cattle were driven in for milking. But now, although the sun was within an hour of the western horizon, no lowing herds could be descried, threading, in dappled streams, the surrounding bush, converging upon the kraal. The denizens of the calf pens might low for their mothers, and might low in vain; and this was primarily at the root of the prevailing excitement.

In the neighbourhood of the chief's hut squatted six or eight head ringed men, sullen and resentful, conversing not much, and in low murmurs... Continue reading book >>

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