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The Scout of Christiaan de Wet

The Scout of Christiaan de Wet, Lawrence Penning
(3rd volume in the Louis Wessels Commando series)
(Inheritance Publications, 2008; English translation), pb., 136
Age 10-15

This story is set in 1900 during the Boer War in South Africa. I don’t think you see many books in our area on this war- especially from the Boer perspective- so it is informative. The story follows Louis Wessels as he fights the British and travels behind enemy lines seeking information. Wessels is a scout for Christiaan de Wet who is a true historical character.

This book is set up to be exciting, but it was really disappointing. Probably the first difficulty with the book is our general lack of awareness of South African history. I knew who the Boers were, but the various names of groups were confusing and it is assumed that the reader will recognize the names of leaders on the different sides. Secondly the flow of the story is odd and hard to follow. It seems to jump inexplicably leaving us uncertain at times how pieces of the story connected. Then the writing was just odd at times. The author would occasionally focus on something tangential and at other times go into extensive gory detail when it did not serve the story. For example a leg amputation is described in gory, repetitive detail and then it serves no real purpose in the story.

We do not recommend this book. We were glad to be finished with it. Parts will probably need editing for a younger audience.

Get a copy of How Sleep the Brave instead!

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