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New Historical Novel Details Story of Love and War in Nigeria

Scituate, Mass. resident publishes novel based on his experience in Nigeria, West Africa


Scituate, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 07/29/2013 -- In his book “A Song of Africa,” (ISBN 1463511795), Ronald B. Wheatley creates a love story set in Nigeria during the Biafran War in 1966. While an historical novel, the theme and events depicted could have been torn from today’s headlines on so many countries in Africa.

American telecommunications consultant Paul Jeffries is living a colonial life style on the idyllic high Jos Plateau in the predominantly Moslem northern Nigeria on the eve of the Biafran War. The discovery of oil in the largely Catholic Eastern Region, the assassination of the most powerful secular and religious Islamic leader, Ahmadu Bello, in the northern region, and the secession of the eastern region from Nigeria are the flash points that incite the war.

The high walls of the escarpment shelter Paul from the ethnic, political, religious, regional and economic rivalries that are tearing apart the dream of a democracy in post-independent Nigeria. Paul has gained the confidence of a key minister in the north to build a vast, and personally lucrative, telecommunications infrastructure for the country.

Early in the story at an Embassy party in Lagos, Paul meets the American Ambassador’s daughter, Maureen Cahill, where they become instant soul mates. Later at the party she disappears and while looking for her on the Embassy grounds he sees something that convinces him that she is having a tryst with a Nigerian in a darkened bathhouse near the pool.

Without a word to her, Paul catches a train to the plateau determined to put her out of his mind and concentrate on his work. Not long after he returns, the Ambassador’s aid, who is aware of Paul’s extensive travels in the East scouting a location for a satellite earth station, pays a surprise visit. The aid informs Paul that Maureen has fled the sanctuary of the Embassy and has somehow made it to a remote island in the “rivers” area of the east to work with an Ibo Catholic priest, Fr. Okeke, and an idealistic but naïve American medical missionary, Larry Barlett. The Ambassador’s aid begs Paul to find Maureen and try to persuade her to flee the area which is near the oil discovery site, now targeted by the ruthless Colonel Barka and his special federal forces. Paul must decide whether or not to leave his beloved plateau to risk it all on a mission that will take him into the mangrove swamp invested area - the darkest corner in the bloody civil war. For each of the characters it is a spiritual journey.

“A Song of Africa” is available for sale online at Amazon.com and other channels.

About Ronald B. Wheatley
Ronald B. Wheatley is an attorney, who served as a Peace Corps Volunteer English teacher in what was then Northern Nigeria. His play “The Trial of Phillis Wheatley,” was produced at Bridgewater State University to standing ovations. Wheatley is a columnist of “Calling All Veterans.” He is a Vietnam veteran, having served with the 1st Signal Brigade in Vietnam 1967-1968, including during the Tet Offensive. Wheatley is a member of the Massachusetts Society of the Sons of the American Revolution.