Review of A Touch of the African Sun by P.H. Newall

This saga is led by that complex character von Tabis, a psychopath, whose monumental ego, and fantasies of power and grandeur, were given fortuitous reign by his unexpected transfer to tranquil Tanganyika (Tanzania) just before World War II. His South African co-conspirators who fell under the spell of von Tabis, illustrate how his charismatic and compelling personality stimulated their latent dreams and ambitions. A colourful diversity of characters adds atmosphere and mystery that is unique to Africa. Despite a remarkable degree of success towards his madcap schemes, von Tabis, blinded by reality, stumbles inexorably towards his ultimate destiny.

My Review

A Touch of the African Sun is a saga about a Nazi, von Tabis, a psychopath on a mission to advance himself in the party as well as make himself a wealthy man. He was crazy but charismatic, and those who conspired with him soon regretted it, but he was ruthless and once they were in, there was no going back. Even though his co-conspirators were unsavory, I had to feel sorry for them.

The novel is in three parts. The first part is about von Tabis and how he came to be in Africa and started his many enterprises, including building a small army and setting up restaurant/bar to gain information from the British clientele. What’s really crazy is the Nazi party funded his insane ideas.

The second part of the novel is about other characters who play an important part in eventually trying to take down von Tabis. And the third part is what transpires once everything comes together.

There are a lot of characters in this saga, but I had no trouble keeping up with them. Most of the Germans weren’t very likeable, but they were definitely interesting. I did like Heidi, the secretary that von Tabis “stole” from a co-worker. She had morals and was professional, and she didn’t deserve what happened to her. Some, but not all, of the British characters were more likeable.

I thought A Touch of the African Sun was amazing, and anyone who likes historical fiction will definitely enjoy it.