Having just finished Mike Bond’s The Last Savanna, I find I now have an unquenchable thirst and am downing glass of ice water after glass of ice water as I type due to Bond’s vivid descriptions of the African sun:
All this was nothing to the sun which bore down like a molten weight dropped from a great height, always, every millisecond, crushing her, flaying her shoulders through the white cotton shirt, as if the fabric were not even there, or worse, as if it magnified the heat. Sun lacerated her neck and the inside of her throat with each intaken breath; it was an oven from which she could not withdraw her face, her hair so hot it burned her skull. (89)
Besides the vivid descriptions, Bond tells of elephant poaching in Africa, and the desire of protagonist MacAdam, a rancher, and his longtime friend Nehemiah to put an end to it. While part of a special unit, MacAdam learns of the kidnapping of a former lover, Rebecca. Thus, a complex journey through the desert ensues with danger from both the landscape and man lurking around every corner.
In addition, Bond, true to his writing, makes political and social commentary throughout:
Too much Coca Cola and motor vehicles have slowed even the Maasai. Every strength sows the seeds of future weakness: material advances destroy our defenses against the primitive. (52)
Although a gourd full of camel’s blood and milk rinsed with urine (97) may be needed for survival in the desert, this may not be the ideal choice for book club. Even cold ugali (58) probably would not tempt discussion. Instead, a vast array of flavored waters: cucumber, lemon, strawberry/lime, seems ideal to prompt discussion of Bond’s The Last Savanna.