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Exiled author, Craig Mellow returns to Zimbabwe when he is given a spying mission for the World Bank. Accompanied by photographer, Sally-Anne Jay, he stumbles upon an ivory-poaching operation which masks the treacherous plot to sell the country he once fought for into slavery.
In The Angels Weep (1983), the third volume of Smith's Rhodesia/Zimbabwe saga, wildlife-preservationist Craig Mellow wrote a Smith-like novel about his family's long African history. Now he returns, a famous/acclaimed, US-based author (Smith's alter-egoism here is laughably grandiose), with hopes of re-establishing himself in postwar, post-Independence Zimbabwe. Craig has two missions - one personal, one quasi-patriotic. He wants to buy back his ancestral lands, developing Zambezi Waters for tourism. And, on assignment for the World Bank, he's out to unmask the "master poacher" who is slaughtering wildlife, endangering tourism, and probably in cahoots with the USSR.
Could this villain be Craig's old soulmate/ enemy Samson Kumalo, who is now a surly minister in the Zimbabwe government? So it seems: with help from his new love, photographer Sally-Anne, Craig teams up with handsome Peter Fungabera, Minister of Internal Security, to bring Samson to justice. Furthermore, Fungabera helps Craig to get the loans needed for his real-estate ventures - while Sally-Anne and Africa cure his writer's block: "Words came spurting out of him in a joyous, long-pent-up orgasm. . . ." But then, after Samson is jailed and dissident tribal unrest spreads (Samson is the Matabele tribe's symbolic leader), Craig finds that he's been doubly tricked by Fungabera, who is the real poacher/Commie villain, "as powerful and as evil as Lucifer." So Craig and Sally-Anne are soon fleeing from Fungabera's torturers and would-be rapists, abandoning the newly-bought lands and escaping over the border (via several ordeals) into Botswana.
Meanwhile, Fungabera is subjecting Samson to grisly (gratuitously detailed) tortures - trying to learn the secret hiding-place of Samson's ancestral diamond-fortune. But eventually, in league with the Matabele dissidents, Craig rescues Samson; together they find the diamonds ($600 million worth) in an underwater tomb/cave; and there's the inevitable violent showdown between the good guys (Matabele) and the bad (Mashona). Less richly plotted than previous Smith pulp-melodramas - but with the usual blend of okay action (Cessnas, Land Rovers, AK 47s), informative detail (e.g., on tribalism), iffy nee-colonial politics, and verbose, dime-store prose.