Sunday, 16 December 2012

The Mine by Kenneth C Ryeland

Book Title:  The Mine

ISBN   9781476392059

Part of Series:  Sequel to ‘The Last Bature’.  Others by the same author include ‘The Up-Country Man’, ‘Tribal Gathering’ and ‘Boom Town

Author:  Kenneth Ryeland

Available at:  SmashwordsAmazon US, Amazon UK 
Price:  $3.00

Number of words (approximately):  109 334

Star Rating (of five):  4

Summary:  Nibana, a newly-independent African republic, lurches from crisis to crisis, as competing factions based on tribal lines struggle to obtain control of the wealth of the new nation.  The British Intelligence officer in-country attempts to steer the conflict to achieve a result favorable to Britain, and the few honest Police officers work to enforce the law.  This story contains the essence of the Dark Continent


- The East German looked at Briggs and wondered why the Nibanans had chosen such a stupid man for this important work.

“Well, Mr Briggs,” began Herr Vogel, “it is most unusual for a job of this nature to be undertaken without at least half of the cost up-front.  However, in the light of the brave struggle by the people of the Eastern Region against the capitalistic greed of the fascist military leaders of Nibana; we of the German Democratic Republic, and our Soviet allies, would be only too happy to assist the future young republic in its fight to establish a pure socialist society in West Africa. We shall waive the requirement of a deposit in return for the establishment of a true socialist presence in the form of East German military and civilian advisors, once the new republic has been established. Do not forget, the Obilanders will require all the help they can get, and recognition by a major power such as the German Democratic Republic, and possibly the Soviet Union, will enhance the country’s standing in the world. It will also ensure continued trade with the Soviet Bloc should the capitalist West refuse to trade, which they will surely do in order to show solidarity with the so-called bona-fide, fascist military government of Nibana. Furthermore, should the military government of Nibana decide to mount an attack in order to bring the region back into the corrupt and decadent federation, they would be discouraged somewhat by the presence of East German, or even Soviet, military advisors. Oh, and I almost forgot, several tankers loaded with the light, almost sulphur-free crude oil from this region would go down well with the people of East Germany, harassed and starved of some creature comforts as they are by the capitalist West generally and the United States in particular.”

Briggs had scribbled down every word in an attempt to understand what Herr Vogel had actually said and enable him to repeat it to the major verbatim. Briggs was ignorant of world politics and didn’t really grasp the meaning of many of the things that were being outlined to him.

With their business apparently completed, both men left the bar and agreed to meet again in two days to enable Briggs to provide a final reply to Vogel regarding his proposal for proceeding with the printing job.

“You agreed what?” screamed the major when Briggs read from the notes he’d made at the meeting with Herr Vogel.

“No, Major, I did not agree to anything. I simply said I would put the points to you,” said Briggs quite calmly.

“Give me those notes and wait here,” said the major testily, snatching the piece of paper from Briggs’ hand.

Colonel Ojumwu was busy adding details to the plan of secession when his ADC entered the office. He looked up and closed the file in front of him before asking wearily, “Yes, Major, what is it?”

“Sir,” began the colonel’s ADC, “I need your approval for the money printing deal. The people in Lagos refused to deal with us, sir. More evidence, I would suggest, of the derogatory stories the Yubas and Usmars are spreading about us to our neighbours. Furthermore, even if they had agreed to do the job, their prices were quite astronomical, sir. They wanted twenty US cents for every note printed, regardless of size or denomination. It is absolutely scandalous,” said the major, lying through his teeth with his customary flare and ease.

“However, we have found someone who can print the money we require just as well and much cheaper than the Nigerians; thieves that they are, sir. The East Germans have said they can do it, and let us face it, sir, they print their own money and it is acceptable to a sophisticated European population, so why not let them print ours? There are only two problems, they are looking to establish links with us when we finally secede and they would like us to deliver several tanker loads of oil as a gesture of goodwill before the contract starts. They have promised to recognise us the moment we declare secession and to encourage the Soviet Union to do the same, sir. You must admit that would be very useful for us, sir.”

The colonel stared at the major for several minutes before getting up from his chair and walking around his desk to stare out of the window at the beautifully tended lawns of Government House.

“Major, do we really need these East Germans here after we declare our freedom from the Nibanans? Will it not be just like it was under British rule during colonial times? Do we really want to share our oil wealth with these people? On the other hand,” continued the colonel before the major could respond to his questions, “we need recognition and we need friends and we also need someone to sell arms and ammunition to us should the Nibanans resort to violence. The British will side with the Nibanans, as will the United States and the rest of Europe. It seems, therefore, that only the Communist Bloc will deal with us. As to them wanting oil for their impoverished people in East Germany, well, that is something we have plenty of, Major. The only thing that worries me is them wanting to ‘establish links’ with us. What do you think that means, Major?” -

Reviewer’s Comments:

Structure:  The book is well structured and easy to read, with grammar and syntax satisfactory.

Content:  The story moves well, keeping interest at a good level.  It is a good companion to the author’s other Nibana and Africa books.

Reviewer’s Comments:  This book illustrates why the Dark Continent remains in poverty to a great extent.  It shows the greed, tribalism, political manipulation, both internally and from abroad, that has characterized the African scene, and continues to do so.  In many ways, the name of the country Nibana could easily be changed to Zimbabwe or South Africa!

‘The Mine’ is a book that will make the reader angry and annoyed, at the lost opportunities of the great powers in the way they managed their withdrawal from Africa, and at the unbridled greed of their political successors in African countries.   Wish that it did not so accurately reflect the truth of Africa.

Karin B


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