Reviews of Mission
 

These reviews have been taken from amazon.com and amazon.co.uk.

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This is a giant of a book. An erudite and well written account of East Africa in the nineteen-seventies woven around one small event. It shows how one tiny pebble thrown into a pond can cause ripples that spread across time and distance. It's a 'must' read for anyone who is interested in African history and its consequences. A huge achievement in terms of time, commitment and expertise.

Jill Lanchbery, author, A Bucket Of Ashes

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"This is definitely a novel for the thoughtful reader who is attracted by or who is simply in love with Africa and its peoples...

 In reading the novel I was constantly reminded of Lawrence Durrell's great work The Alexandria Quartet."

Mission is an ambitious debut novel set in the early years of post-colonial Kenya. In view of recent events in that beautiful country it seems oddly prophetic underlining as it does the tribal tensions that always lie beneath the surface driving and sometimes exacerbating human frailty, thoughtlessness, greed, even the universal need for love and acknowledgement. The novel insists that these tribal affiliations are not just associated with the indigenous population; the white churchmen, their friends and relations are just as haplessly caught in the net of these loyalties and responsibilities.


The plot is centred round the lives of five characters who are more or less implicated in the death of Munyasya a derelict ex Kenyan army officer. Although the `accident' occurred more than thirty years ago this tragedy is still playing out its dramatic consequences in their lives.
 

In reading the novel I was constantly reminded of Lawrence Durrell's great work `The Alexandria Quartet'. In `Mission' the sense of place is not so poetically depicted but there is no doubt that we are in Africa its vibrancy and heat pervades each chapter and as in the Quartet we see one event or set of circumstances from the varying points of view of the main characters. How differently each views those same events!


I found the novel a little didactic in the few places where Christian ideology is being discussed but this is definitely a novel for the thoughtful reader who is attracted by or who is simply in love with Africa and its peoples.  

Justine, UK 

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This is a beautifully crafted book, rich in sensuous language evoking a flavour of Africa…... It is a story that holds you, envelops you, until the very last page. The characterisation is truly masterful, the plot intriguing.

Timothy Harman, Spain

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"It is obvious this was a labor of love, you can see it on every page…

 I don’t really know Africa…Philip Spires does."

I don't know if I'd call myself an old Africa hand. I'm old, well getting there anyway. I first went to Kenya with Vesta to celebrate the first anniversary of Jomo Kenyatta's death. What a day in Nairobi that was. Vesta and I have tramped over South Africa and I'd spent time in Rhodesia during the war. I loved Kenyatta, loath Mugabe…….

 

I've also read everything Wilbur Smith and Rubert Ruark, think Something of Value and Uhuru are two of the finest books written in the English language. I read foreign newspapers, listen to the BBC, but all that being said, I don't really know Africa. However, Philip Spires does.

 

It is obvious this was a labor of love, you can see it on every page in this story about a lawyer who leaves London to return to Kenya, and not the Mombasa or Nairobi Kenya, Vesta and I knew and loved, but to a back edge of nowhere, poorer than dirt town in Eastern Kenya. He wants to do good, make the town and the country a better place, but idealists don't always have an easy goal of it and this one especially does not ‘

Ken Douglas, author,  Scorpion, Desperation Moon & Dead Ringer.

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"…a very interesting and delightfully challenging read."

The missionary priest, in Kenya, has done something unforgivable (or has he?) and the villagers will get him. The reader is taken on a journey into the lives of the characters and learns how each one fits and views the unfortunate event.


..... The different maps that people have of their worlds are colorfully painted and this opens up new worlds to the reader. The link between the ancestral spirit and the old man in the last chapter draws sympathy and gives some understanding of this spirituality.

….. If you want to experience the places written about here, read this book. If you are interested in different cultures, read it too. There is much to enjoy and much insight to be gained from it.


 It is a very interesting and delightfully challenging read.

 

CL Grant, USA

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A fine story set in beautiful Kenya, colorful and filled with mystery, intrigue, and twists. The characters are real as are their perceptions when seen through their eyes. A magnificent story set in magnificent locale.

Bill Copeland, author, Ashes To The Vistula

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"While his portrayal of Kenya and London is quite vivid, we also recognise the basic humanity of the characters in the book."

Mission offers an armchair exploration of the locals and foreign workers in a poor village in Kenya. Through their stories, we get to know their hopes and aspirations, their dilemmas, the circumstances that force them to act the way they do and, ultimately, their humanity.

 

The book begins with a car accident in which the village drunk, a character nobody liked much, got killed. However, the day of the accident proves to be fateful for the major characters of the book. Like Kurosawa's movie Rashomon, each of the major characters ………tells their hopes and ambitions, their circumstances and their dilemmas. The car accident at the beginning of the book turns out to be the denouement for the major characters.

The book is only published recently but has been incubated by Philip over many years while he spent time in Kenya, London, Brunei and the United Arab Emirates. While his portrayal of Kenya and London is quite vivid, we also recognise the basic humanity of the characters in the book. It is comforting to know that while we face different circumstances, we are basically the same round the world. This is a message we need to remind ourselves constantly as tribal and sectarian conflicts exploded in recent years.

 

Cao Thac, Australia

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The book is a compelling, beautiful read, set in Africa detailing a story from the eyes of different characters. The description of Africa gives "a beam me up Scotty" effect and at times you feel you are almost walking the dusty roads with a searing sun on your back. The characters are no less impressive… A long read, not your average 'beach holiday read' but certainly worthwhile and rewarding.

Ken Scott, author, A Million Would Be Nice and Jack Of Hearts

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