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The White Rhino Hotel (1992)

by Bartle Bull

Series: Anton Rider (1)

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16410121,850 (3.79)137
The Great War has ended, tragically for many; but for some more fortunate, East Africa holds the prospect of vast estates, fabulous wealth, and limitless opportunity in this powerful, grandly crafted novel of the natural and human perils that await pioneers in a promised land. It is in colonial Kenya, at Lord Penfold's White Rhino Hotel, that the paths of these new settlers cross. Here they meet the cunning dwarf Olivio Alevado, a man whose lustful desires and vengeful schemes make him a formidable adversary to his enemies and a subtle ally to his friends. Here the destinies of the gypsy adventurer Anton Rider and the courageous, war-hardened Gwenn Llewelyn intersect. Here hope is corrupted by greed, love by revenge, and loyalty by betrayal as the future is trampled into history.… (more)
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» See also 137 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
I never thought I would encounter another epic tale on par with McMurty's Lonesome Dove. I am happy to report that The White Rhino Hotel, book one chronologically in Bull's Anton Rider trilogy, is that book. With lush, descriptive details of the land, the people and the animals of colonial East Africa, this is a story that will transport you back to a place and time, like the American West of Lonesome Dove, where each settler is very much on their own to defend their property and settle in a land that seems determined to test their strength and will power to carry on. Filled with a cast that includes "an English aristocrat, his disgruntled wife, a gorgeous Welsh ambulance driver, a proud Goan dwarf, a German soldier of fortune, an American Safari hunter, and a brutal Portuguese aristocrat and his oversexed sister", this story has the characters and the backdrop for a wonderfully enthralling epic adventure filled with good guys, bad guys and the ones you are just not sure which side of the battle they are on.

If you loved Lonesome Dove as much as I did and are on the look out for another epic tale written on the same grand scale, I can highly, highly recommend The White Rhino Hotel. ( )
1 vote lkernagh | Jul 18, 2015 |
I don't know, I'm 2 chapters in and getting very dubious. Should I take this one on my trip? Maybe P.G. Wodehouse is safer.
  amyem58 | Aug 14, 2014 |
High adventure set in Kenya in the days just after WWI is the best way to describe this book.

What a colorful cast of characters - from Olivio, the Goan dwarf, to Anton Rider, the young Englishman who was raised by gyspsies. Africa means something different to each of them, yet lies at the heart of each of their dreams. I was entirely caught up in following each of their fortunes.

I am definitely going to read more by this author. It was an exciting read, for sure! ( )
  bookwoman247 | Jan 11, 2012 |
This was an entertaining book to read, and I have re-read it several times. I picked it up at a library book sale on a whim and was pleasantly surprised. The story held my attention and the characters were original and unique. The quality of writing I would place on the level of a well done "romance novel" (Julia Quinn and Amanda Quick being my favorite authors). It's not a romance book though, that's just what the writing quality reminded me of. It does have violence in it, but it's not on the same raw/gritty level as, let's say, James Ellroy's "L.A. Confidential," certain parts of David Guterson's "Snowing on Cedars," or Emily Devenport's "Larissa." Overall: enjoyable to read, memorable characters, great setting, good blend of adventure and drama. ( )
  HotWolfie | Nov 10, 2011 |
Set in Kenia after WWI, we follow the progress of English colonizers, most of them wounded veterans who have come to Africa in hopes of starting over. Anton Rider was too young to fight in the war, but he embarks on a ship from England to a continent that will allow him the space to roam free and hunt in the wilderness. During the voyage, he takes notice of a beautiful young woman, Gwen, who is on her way to meet her husband, already stationed in Kenia where they will cultivate a plot of land won in a raffle. But there are also two Irish brothers, imposing and brutal escaped murderers present, one of which takes a liking to Gwen, then forces his way into her cabin and rapes her until young Anton Rider catches him in the act, and from then on the two men become sworn enemies.

Meanwhile, at the White Rhino Hotel, barman Olivio the dwarf is mixed up in many intrigues, one of which is providing sexual favours to the hotel owner's wife. All these characters will come together in what is the first instalment of a great saga. It is Bartle Bull's ode to Africa, it's native people and it's natural wildness, and the forces of hatred and loyalty, passion and cruelty, avarice and lust which come together to form a thrilling story which combines plenty of action with lyrical and evocative descriptions of the settings. I would have given this one a higher rating for general appreciation, but was quite bothered by an element of the story, which has Olivio take on a twelve year-old black girl as his servant and sexual plaything. While this is part of the customs of the natives, who marry off their girls at a very young age, and while the girl ends up having her way with him and all is well, I would have much preferred not being privy to their sexual explorations, an element I found very disturbing. All the same, I'll continue on with the trilogy, because there's too much good stuff here to sink one's teeth into. ( )
5 vote Smiler69 | Sep 28, 2011 |
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The Great War has ended, tragically for many; but for some more fortunate, East Africa holds the prospect of vast estates, fabulous wealth, and limitless opportunity in this powerful, grandly crafted novel of the natural and human perils that await pioneers in a promised land. It is in colonial Kenya, at Lord Penfold's White Rhino Hotel, that the paths of these new settlers cross. Here they meet the cunning dwarf Olivio Alevado, a man whose lustful desires and vengeful schemes make him a formidable adversary to his enemies and a subtle ally to his friends. Here the destinies of the gypsy adventurer Anton Rider and the courageous, war-hardened Gwenn Llewelyn intersect. Here hope is corrupted by greed, love by revenge, and loyalty by betrayal as the future is trampled into history.

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