Years ago, I read the book The Lions of Tsavo about man-eating lions and found it riveting. I went into this book with high hopes. The set up was pretty good with these well-meaning mercs planning to take out a war lord. There’s also an embassy and all their employees being evacuated or put under guarded lock down. Then the lions enter the story. All that was a great hook that pulled me into the tale.
Then things go into a bit of a slump. All of the mercs are nice guys which just made them come off as fake and one dimensional. After the first staging of the scene, there’s very little details about the location. Basically, this story could take place any place with a large predator. I would have liked more details about Africa in general and the country in specific to keep me in the story.
A few of the mercs die in their quest to rid the area of this pride of man-eating lions. Since I hadn’t gotten attached to them, I wasn’t sad when they had to exit the story. In fact, I had trouble keeping them all straight because they were nearly copies of one another in all their goodness.
The other big issue for me was that all the ladies are attached to the mercs (wives, girlfriends) and when they get together, all they do is cry in their wine as they miss their men. They have no lives of their own. These female characters were there to hold up the male characters and none of them stood on their own. Since this is fiction, we could have had at least one female character, perhaps as a merc or native Tanzanian wildlife guide. Alas, the ladies were even less memorable than the men.
Despite the flaws, the story has several good action scenes and some intense moments between hunter and hunted. 3/5 stars.
I received a free copy of this book.
The Narration: Dave Cruse was a good fit for this book. He had distinct voices for all the characters and a variety of accents. He also had decent female voices for the ladies. I’m not familiar with the Tanzanian accent, but the accent Cruse used for the Tanzanian characters was consistent throughout the story. There were no recording issues. 5/5 stars.