German South West Africa 1906, Australian horse trader Cyril Blake is executed in cold blood by the Kaiser's soldiers.
Sydney, the present day. Blake's great-nephew recently widowed Nick Eatwell, is approached by South African journalist Susan Vidler who is investigating his ancestor's mysterious demise.
Intrigued and looking for distraction, Nick discovers a long-lost manuscript which tells how Blake stayed in South Africa after serving in the Anglo-Boer War and joined the Nama people in their rebellion against the Germans in South West Africa, modern-day Namibia.
In Munich, historian Anja Berghoff, researching the origin of the wild 'ghost' horses of Namibia, stumbles across intriguing letters from Irish-German spy Claire Martin, with whom Blake had an affair.
As Nick and Anja's paths cross, they find themselves racing through southern Africa, and through time, on the trail of a legend.
But they're not alone. Someone else is chasing these ghosts of the past, looking for clues for a hidden treasure worth killing for.
I had previously read Safari and Silent Predator by Tony Park and was impressed by his descriptive writing style and action-packed plots. The novels were both set in Africa and were both interesting and thought-provoking reads.
Ghosts of the Past is another entertaining read that changes tack from his previous novels. Although set in Africa, it plays out in two time periods; the early twentieth century, where we track Cyril Blake and feisty Claire Martin on their quest for justice and gold, and the present day, where we find Blake's great-great-nephew, Nick Eatwell, heading to Africa to solve a mystery. Based on real events in Namibia during the 1904 - 1906 Boer War, there is plenty of action, both in the historical tale and the current day narrative.
Whilst based on a true story, there are some fictitious elements which do not detract from this fast-paced story. I thought it was an interesting and insightful read and I found myself learning about a war I previously knew nothing about. I enjoyed learning more about Namibian and South African history and the novel gives you a detailed description of the war, the soldiers and one of the first concentration camps.
Ultimately, Ghosts of the Past is a story of love and war, of buried treasure, shattered illusions, and a quest for justice. Park once again delivers an action-packed story that had me up until the early hours of the morning wanting more. It had my attention from start to finish which is unusual as I'm not a huge fan of war-related novels. Definitely one for your bookshelf!
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This is the Te Reo Maori version of 'I Can't Imagine How That Happened'. This version is retold by Ngaere Roberts.
Meg and Grandpa go camping, and Grandpa's teasing and practical jokes always end with him saying, "I can't imagine how that happened." Then finally the tables are turned and Meg gets her own back!
"[This] story jumped out at me as the winner. It is warm, funny, energetic and children will love it." - Joy Cowley
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