Excerpt from The Afrika Reich by Guy Saville, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Afrika Reich

By Guy Saville

The Afrika Reich
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Hardcover: Feb 2013,
    400 pages.
    Paperback: 13 Jan 2015,
    400 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

Schädelplatz, Deutsch Kongo14 September 1952, 01:14

Nine minutes. He had nine minutes to exorcise a lifetime.

Burton Cole sat at Hochburg's desk, sweat trickling behind his ears. He was dressed in the uniform of a Sturmbannführer, an SS major: black tunic and breeches, Sam Browne belt, jackboots, swastika armband on the left sleeve. His skin crawled beneath the material. To complete the look, his hair had been cut short, his beard shaved; the skin on his cheeks felt raw and exposed. Chained to his wrist was an attaché case empty except for two items: a pouch fat with diamonds and, concealed inside that, a table knife.

The knife had been his mother's, from a service used only for company. He still remembered the way she would beam as she laid the table for visitors, the flash of silver. That was—what?—when he was eight or nine. Back then he struggled to slice meat with it; now it was as deadly as an ice pick.

He'd spent years sharpening it to a jagged point for this very moment, never once believing it would come.

But just as Burton opened the case to grasp the knife, Hochburg held up his hand. It was an immense, brutal paw that led to an arm straining in its sleeve and the broad shoulders of a swimmer. The movement itself was languid—a lazy version of Hitler greeting the ranks.

"The diamonds can wait, Sturmbannführer," he said. "First I must show you something."

Ackerman warned him this might happen. Hochburg had shown all the previous couriers, shown everyone, no matter what their rank. It was his great pride. Indulge him, Ackerman advised. Do nothing to arouse his "suspicions." There'll be plenty of time for the kill.

Burton glanced at his watch. Everything had gone wrong tonight; now he felt crushed by the lack of seconds. This was not how he'd envisioned the moment. In his dreams, time stood still; there was opportunity for talk and torment.

And answers to all his questions.

Hochburg rose from his desk. The office around him was austere. Naked wooden floors, simple furniture. There was a gun cabinet in the corner and shelving for hundreds, possibly thousands, of books—though not a single volume filled them. Overhead, a fan remained motionless despite the humidity of the night. Although dark patches were spreading across Burton's shirt, Hochburg looked as if his body were chilled to the bone. The only decoration in the room was the obligatory portrait of the Führer, another of Bismarck, and maps.

Maps of Aquatoriana, Deutsch Ostafrika, DSWA, Kamerun, Kongo, Muspel: all the dominions of Nazi Africa. The cartography of enslavement. Every last hectare pored over, charted, claimed. In the first years of conquest, they had been governed by the Kolonialpolitisches Amt, the KPA, a haphazard civil administration. Later, the SS took control.

Hochburg moved toward the opposite end of the room, where French doors led out to a veranda.

Burton hesitated, then got to his feet and followed. His jackboots pinched with every step. Hochburg was already on the veranda. Above him hung a silent wind chime. He spread his arms with a messianic sweep. "Magnificent, isn't it?" he declared in a baritone that sounded raw from cognac, even though Burton knew he was a teetotaler. "A thing of wonder!"

The official headquarters of the Schutzstaffel, the SS, may have been in Stanleystadt—but this was the real power base of Deutsch Kongo. Burton had arrived through the front entrance, past the cranes that were still erecting the imperial façade. The quadrangle below him was at the rear, the hidden part of Hochburg's fiefdom, used for ceremonial occasions. No one but the SS were allowed here.

It was the size of a parade ground, with several stories of offices on all sides and, according to Ackerman, cellars that went as deep below as the floors above. Bureaucracy and torture: two pillars of Nazi Africa. There were guard towers on each of the far corners; a patrol stalking the perimeter with a Doberman. Enough barbed wire for a concentration camp. But it was the ground that most caught Burton's attention. Searchlights dived and soared over it. For a second he stood dumbfounded at the sheer scale of it. The sheer barbarity. His father would have wept at its sight.

Excerpted from The Afrika Reich by Guy Saville. Copyright © 2013 by Guy Saville. Excerpted by permission of Henry Holt and Company. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  The Dunkirk Evacuation

Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Promise
    The Promise
    by Ann Weisgarber
    Canadian author, Lucy Maud Montgomery of Anne of Green Gables fame, once wrote that "...all things ...
  • Book Jacket: Black Moon
    Black Moon
    by Kenneth Calhoun
    The popularity of book-turned-movie World War Z and television series The Walking Dead points to a ...
  • Book Jacket: Hyde
    Hyde
    by Daniel Levine
    In Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the story ends ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

Published Apr. 2014

Join the discussion!

Win this book!
Win The Steady Running of the Hour

The Steady Running of the Hour

"Exciting, emotionally engaging and amibtious. I loved it!" - Kate Mosse

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

I T T O A Eye

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.