Background to God’s Elephants
When I had finished writing and publishing Dolphin Song and was selling this and The Dorset Squirrels at events such as Agricultural Shows and Gift Fairs, I was frequently asked ‘What is your next book going to be about?’
During my service in the Royal Air Force, I had been stationed for two and a half years in Kenya during the early 1960s and had come to love Africa and its abundant wildlife. It was increasingly clear that, by the end of the last century, this wildlife, and especially elephants, were under increasing pressure from the explosion of the human population. Elephants were also being killed in large numbers for their valuable ivory.
Having always been fond of these huge, intelligent and caring creatures, I decided to write a book in which they were the significant characters in much the same way as the dolphins had been in Dolphin Song.
Originally I thought I would set the story in Namibia and visited that country to see the elephants there and experience the scenery and atmosphere but it lacked a focal geographical point and eventually I based the story around Kilimanjaro which I had climbed in 1963 when in the R.A.F.
One of the most important human characters was to be San bushman and I visited South Africa and Botswana to learn more about these intriguing people.
My final African trip took me across the northern plains of Tanzania and through the Serengeti National Park, observing elephants close up whilst also studying the life style of the Maasai people who were also to feature in the book which eventually became God’s Elephants.
Summary of God’s Elephants.
When the young female elephant, Temba Kidogo and her Grandfather, the wise old Tembo M’zee, are inspired to climb Kilimanjaro and seek the sacred tusks of the legendary Tembo Jay, they have no idea of the events their action will trigger. Joined by an ever-growing company of other elephants as they carry the tusks across the plains of Africa to The Place of Peace, they face man-made and natural hazards and have to use every ounce of their resourcefulness to overcome these. The hunter, Walt Schwiner, and his disgraced Maasai guide, Moses, are determined to capture the sacred tusks whilst a Bushman and his friends, both human and elephant try to prevent this.
The final scenes in the Place of Peace, the traditional elephants’ graveyard, lead to unexpected results that alter the way both humans and elephants live in the future.
Click here to read sample chapters from God’s Elephants.
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