Scituate, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 05/06/2014 -- Ronald Wheatley knows the songs of Africa. From the furious beat of the tribal drums of the mangrove swamp and its fetid dampness, to the cacophony of the birds and cool dry air of the highlands, Wheatley is attuned to every note. In his award-winning and celebrated novel, ‘A Song of Africa’, the author demonstrates his unique understanding of the complex giant of Africa that often finds itself stricken by war, hunger and abject poverty.
His years of work volunteering in Nigeria for the Peace Corps put the rhythms of Africa into the author’s DNA, and he brings an intricate time in history to startling and revealing light that sets the background for what is happening in Nigeria today. Telling the story of an American telecommunications consultant living in Nigeria in the tumultuous 1960s, ‘A Song of Africa’ follows Paul Jeffries as he falls in love with another expatriate and becomes embroiled in the darkness of an annihilating and potentially life-ending civil war.
On the eve of the Biafran war, American telecommunications consultant Paul Jeffries is living a colonial lifestyle on the idyllic mile high Jos Plateau, largely sheltered from the ethnic, political, religious and economic rivalries that are tearing apart the dream of a united independent post-colonial Nigeria. The discovery of oil in the predominantly Igbo (Ibo) and Catholic Eastern Region and the assassination of the most powerful ruler in the largest region, the predominantly Muslim North, have brought the country to civil war. The year is 1966.
On a night in Lagos at an Embassy party Jeffries meets the American Ambassador's daughter, Maureen Cahill. There he pursues her and she eludes him on her own mission, which he comes to believe to be a tryst in a darkened poolside bathhouse with a Nigerian. Rejecting her as not worthy of his attention, he returns to his plateau sanctuary to concentrate on his pending lucrative contract with the government and forget her.
Because his work has taken him into that region and he knows it well, the ambassador's aid meets him at his hill station retreat and informs him that Maureen has traveled to the mangrove infested Rivers area of the rebellious state of Biafra to a tiny desolate island near the site of the oil discovery - the target for invading federal forces led by the fierce Colonel Barka. The tiny island is accessible only by small pirogue poled by a skilled boatmen. At this place she has joined an Ibo Catholic priest and an idealistic but naïve young American physician, Larry Bartlett, to aid the refugees.
Still trying to get her out of his mind, the self-centered Jeffries must decide whether to act or not - to risk everything by leaving his safe and comfortable surroundings to venture on a mission that will take him into the darkest corner of a war torn land.
Since its original release, among its many honors, ‘A Song of Africa’ has earned a five-star-rating on Amazon and dozens of glowing reviews from readers and critics alike.
“This is one of the best books I have had the pleasure to read in a very long time. Because of Mr. Wheatley's personal experience in Africa he was able to capture the tension of the culture and the beauty of the country. The story of the civil strife became palpable and experiential. I was just transfixed and I could not put it down,” wrote Donna A. Crowell.
“A Song of Africa" is a compelling story about the war in Nigeria, which I was not aware of. The story takes place about the same time as the Vietnam war. The characters and the story are both moving and inspiring,” wrote Mi Sun Donahue, Author of The Journey of a Motherless Child.
“This is one of the best books I have had the pleasure to read in a very long time. Because of Mr. Wheatley's personal experience in Africa he was able to capture the tension of the culture and the beauty of the country. The story of the civil strife became palpable and experiential. I was just transfixed and I could not put it down. The descriptions were so stunning that one felt immersed as if actually present. Hurrah, for Mr. Wheatley!!! Looking forward to his next book” wrote Donna Crowell.
‘A Song of Africa’ is available now: Paperback format - http://amzn.to/1kcKitJ eBook format - http://amzn.to/1nVrIbV
About Ronald Wheatley
Ronald Wheatley is the author of the award winning historical novel "A Song of Africa," that was inspired by his experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nigeria, West Africa. He is an attorney and student of history and a member of the Massachusetts Sons of the American Revolution. He served in Vietnam with the US Army's 1st Signal Brigade, 1967-1968. He is also the author of the recently released docudrama “The Trial of Phillis Wheatley,” https://www.thetrialofphilliswheatley.net