BLOOD RIVER – Synopsis
It's just the turn of the nineteenth century, and West Africa, to be precise, the upper reaches of the Kandiachana River, one of the feeder tributaries to the Congo basin.
Reginald Dartington-Grant is a British expeditionary explorer, looking for precious gemstones and metals in the deep jungles of Africa. He finds one of the richest seams of corundum (aluminium oxide) in Africa, where the crystals have been corrupted by chromium, giving them a deep, blood red colour. Rubies, as big as and better quality than those from the Indian continent. It's not a simple matter of staking a claim, he has to document his find, have the stones confirmed and lodge a formal expedition request to the governments involved. Then he must get men and equipment out to the area and establish a defendable mining town. News travels fast and the loose tongue of a drunken bearer in a coastal bar has the world set aflame. Suddenly the race is on, the Germans, the French and the Dutch all becoming actively involved in making the river and its rocky treasure store theirs. The local Shibumba natives, cannibals and headhunters, add to the drama. As if that isn't enough, the river is full of hungry crocodiles and the jungle well populated with predators and poisonous creatures of all kinds. Jurgens Kootzee, a South African diamond and emerald expert, recruits his own team and tries to beat the lot to the best mining corridor. Hans Freyer, sent by the Kaiser himself, will stop at nothing to secure the rubies for the Fatherland. Michael Smith, despatched by a wealthy stockbroker, has little back up to help his quest, while two near neighbours, Jean Gristeau, Paris, and Henri Mars, Brussels, nearly kill each other on the ship, before they even get there. How Dartington-Grant survived and succeeded is the most amazing story. I am pleased to be your storyteller.
Bob Curby 2012©
WRITING COMMENCED MARCH 2012, TARGET COMPLETION DECEMBER 2013