Whisper at Dawn
It’s the dawn of the 20th century. Dan Sullivan, a young Queensland drover, signs up for adventure fighting the Boers only to discover that the horrors of war go beyond the battle fields.
In East Africa, a railway crosses a wilderness populated by an unimaginable throng of wild animals. It is the golden age of the white hunter – men whose exciting lives entice the wealthy to go in search of big, dangerous game.
After many failed attempts on the Dark Continent, old Bill Freeman sees his chance to make his fortune in East Africa as a hunter and convinces newly-arrived Dan to join his fledgling safari company.
Freeman Safaris prosper with rich clients prepared to pay well for the chance to bag a hunting trophy. Dan learns the trade but discovers that stalking big game is only part of the danger of escorting the clients and their pampered wives.
The dysfunctional Freeman family join Bill, but Africa has ways to test the best intentions.
Bill’s young granddaughter, Liz, falls in love with Dan and with Africa, but tragedy forces her to return to Australia and her uncaring grandmother.
Years later, as the shadow of the Great War falls across the continent, Liz returns to Africa and the man she has dreamed about since childhood. But Dan has secrets that threaten to shatter their love, and he must finally decide what courage truly means.
With the author behind the Scenes of Whisper at Dawn
In all of my reading of the history of old Africa there is an enduring presence of the white hunter. Although the thought of hunting for pleasure is considered by many to be repugnant these days, early in the 20th Century, white hunters in Africa attracted the degree of attention only given to today’s rock stars and movie celebrities. Publishers hounded them to record their adventures which became immediate best-sellers, and they travelled to speaking engagements all over the world where they addressed packed houses. To have these hunters take them on safari was the ambition of many a well-heeled sportsman.
Although hunters have appeared elsewhere in the pages of my books, for example, there was Kip Balmain in In Search of Africa, and Ewart Grogan in Roar of the Lion, I haven’t given these daring individuals the attention they deserve.
Researching the men and their times was a joy. I loved the idiosyncratic behaviour of many of them and the undoubted courage of them all. Although Dan Sullivan and Bill Freeman are fictional characters, within the pages of Whisper at Dawn I bestow upon them the deeds of some of the giants of the era, men like Alan Black, the consummate white hunter; ‘Flash’ Jack Riddell, the gentleman hunter; ‘Karamoja’ Bell, a Scot, said to be too mean to use more than one cartridge on his quarry, large or small, and Bill Judd who hunted lions from horseback.