Some non-spoiler excerpts from the prequel to Be Silent
We’re getting closer to counting the sleeps…
Both books are 20th-century historical action adventures. The novel and novella will be available on Amazon, Nook, Kobo and iBooks, in paperback as well as eBooks. The publication of Be Silent was held back for almost two months to synchronize it as a simultaneous release with its prequel.
Here are five excerpts from the novella.
“Lukas, why wouldn’t you smile?” Maria bent down and kissed her oldest son.
Lukas blushed and tried to hide his face in the folds of her skirt. His eyes remained on his parents. He stammered, “Daddy says . . . life is serious.”
Maria shot a glance at her husband, who pulled up his shoulders, his face drawn again. At least somebody was paying attention. There’s nothing to explain. The boy’s right. He failed to understand why Maria chose to ignore what was happening around them. The British Federation wasn’t even six years old and look what was going on: widespread discontent.
He eyed Rianna, the shining apple of his eye. She was unaware of his scrutiny. She sat somewhat apart. It was clear to everyone in the party, Lukas and PJ included, that she would have nothing to do with the kleintjies, the little ones.
She had requested a Hubbly-Bubbly float and pushed the island of ice cream around with her straw, eating nibbles of it with the tip of the straw. Her mop of red curls covered her eyes and upper body, making it easier to keep to herself. Usually she sat upright like a meerkat on lookout, always curious—this was her sulking position.
Perhaps I should reprimand the child? She shouldn’t grow up wild.
Louis jumped from his stool and paced the room, his hands clasped behind his back. “First, my boss isn’t that old. Second, that’s why we have a Treasurer, why we have regular meetings, we follow the bylaws, adhere to the church order—”
“Like the Pharisees.”
“I’ve never thought of you as a cold-hearted bastard.”
“Why do you mock me?”
“I’m afraid of what I see, of what I hear.”
He turned, stepped closer, and touched her shoulder. She jerked away as if his hand had scorched her. She jumped to her feet and stepped away. “This won’t go away. It’s a cancer. It has to be surgically removed—”
“What are you talking about?”
“Wake up, Reverend Ferreira! You will not share my bed. You will drive over to Katete and go make peace with the Vermeulens . . . Learn some compassion.”
Maria rolled her eyes at their talk and thought nothing of it. Once a year the men went hunting, but for antelope. Bringing an impala, a kudu, or an eland home was no small feat. This epic hunt is only talk. Nothing will come of it. She knew, as everyone living in the bush knew: hunting the African buffalo, the Cape buffalo, was not for amateurs.
She was a wise enough woman not to use the word amateur in front of Louis, or even Phil. And yet, the Chinyanjas had a reason they called the grown bull the wakuda kufa, the Black Death. At two thousand pounds or more, the African savannah buffalo, with its unpredictable nature, had little trouble goring people to death.
Each year, two hundred people were killed by these animals, who were on any day as dangerous as the hippopotamus and the crocodile. She paid little heed to the men’s daydreaming. Those majestic animals with their wide sweeping horns were for professional hunters—not for hobbyists, and especially not for preachers, church builders, and maintenance men.
Maria was wrong.
Rianna ambled over to her father. He sat on a fallen tree trunk, his back against a rock-face that was part of the outcrop they sat upon. His eyes were closed. She settled down a few feet away and started braiding her damp hair while watching him.
Phil’s eyes flew open. “What?” His face softened as he smiled at her. You look so much like your mother, dearest child. You are so brave, his eyes said.
She smiled, then took a deep breath. “Daddy, are you and Uncle Louis still friends?”
“Then why are you so angry with him? Mommy said you have made peace.”
“And me being here today doesn’t help?”
He laughed, avoiding her eyes.
“Being a grown up is hard, sometimes.”
“I’m sorry that I messed up. But being a child is hard!” Rianna called out. “I’m in trouble all of the time. I’m not a kleintjie anymore, but you adults treat me like a baby!”
“Rianna, you’re eleven.”
“Almost twelve!” She pushed out her chest. “I’m growing up. I’ve asked mother to make me my first training bra, Daddy.”
Crimson crept up his face. “Rianna! I don’t think this is—”
“Gentlemen! Rianna! Time to go!” Louis called out. He stood next to Pemba. They were both ready. “Everybody check their weapons. One round in the chamber. Safeties on.” He clapped his hands. “Let’s go, guys!”
Thank you for reading!
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