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Cry Wolf by Wilbur Smith
The year is 1935, shortly before World War II. The "Wolf of Rome", Italy's army under Mussolini, is poised to invade Ethiopia, whose army is not only ill-equipped, but also severely outnumbered. Desperate to save his troubled land, Emperor Haile Selassie enlists American Jake Barton and Englishman Gareth Swales, two risk-takers who both share a taste for danger and the thrill of adventure. The mission seems simple: Deliver four ancient refurbished armored cars and Vicky Camberwell, an American journalist, in exchange for a hefty weight of gold. But soon Jake and Gareth realize that this is just the beginning of a long, harrowing journey that will take them from the sea to the scorching deserts of Africa to the peaks of its treacherous mountains, where a dramatic struggle to stay alive awaits them...
enough,’ he gave his opinion. ‘And we should be able to see across to the ridge and cover all the ground to the east once the sun comes up.’ Gareth pointed to the glow of the Italian searchlights and then swept his arm widely across the open desert beyond. ‘That looks like where they hold their fun and games every day. We should get a grandstand view from here. We’d better get under cover now.’ They intended to spend the whole of that day observing the activity of the Italian squadron, pulling
forward. The corpse of the ancient Harari warrior lay directly in the track of the command tank, and the rumbling steel treads pressed it into the rocky ground as it passed over, squashing it like the carcass of a rabbit on a highway, as it bore Colonel Count Aldo Belli triumphantly up the gorge to Sardi and the Dessie road. At the wall of rock built right across the throat of the gorge, the armoured column ground to a halt, blocked at the very lip of the valley, and when the Italian
tipped with soft expanding lead, and it mushroomed as it raked the belly cavity, lacerating the bowels and tearing four large abdominal veins. The slug had passed close enough to the kidneys to bruise both of them severely, so now, when the lion stopped, arched his back and crouched to pass a spattering of blood-stained urine, he groaned like the roll of drums at an execution. Then, finally, the bullet had struck the arch of the pelvic girdle and lodged there against the bone. After the first
slipped up beside her and took her hand. ‘Please do not worry,’ she whispered. ‘We are all your friends.’ ‘You could have fooled me, honey.’ Vicky smiled back at her, and squeezed the slim brown hand. At that moment a procession emerged from the caves, headed by four coal-black priests of the Coptic Christian Church in their gaudy robes, chanting in Amharic, swinging incense and carrying ornate, if crudely wrought bronze crosses. Immediately after the priests followed a figure so tall and thin
Italians, and it was nearly twelve miles wide. The attackers must be led in close to the southern horn of the funnel, where the Vickers machine guns had been sited on the rocky slopes, and where a minor water course had chiselled its way down to the plain. The water course was dry now, and it meandered out into the plain for five miles before vanishing, but it was deep and wide enough to conceal the large contingents of Harari and Galla horsemen. This mass of cavalry had been waiting all day,