Two posts in one day? Oh you lucky people! As I was saying in my earlier post – Hypnos by Jon Biddle – I somehow managed to arrange to have two book reviews go live in the one day. So welcome back to Life With Ktkinnes, as we take a look at Tusker by Dougie Arnold.
Taking more and more time to actually read is something I really wanted to do in 2020. With having discovered Audible, and having finally found the proper charger for my Kindle again, I’ve been able to consume stories, but nothing beats lying in bed or on a sofa with a paperback book. Especially when the world seems to be ending around us. But I’m not here to talk about the doom and gloom – we get enough of that elsewhere on the internet at the minute.
Tusker by Dougie Arnold was sent to me for free in exchange for an honest review, as part of the book tour organised to promote this novel. All thoughts below are my own, and are 100% honest, unless I am quoting, in which case I will make this clear.
When I first read the blurb of Tusker, I was intrigued. It sounds like a book that fits perfectly with our current climate with regards to poachers and wildlife, and what really got me interested was the fact that half of all the net profits due to the author (Dougie Arnold) will be used to help organisations committed to elephant conservation.
Blurb from Tusker
The sudden and violent increase of elephant poaching in the remote Kenya game reserve of Uwingoni threatens its very existence. Those who have devoted themselves to the protection of its precious wildlife seem ill equipped to deal with this new menace.
However, the arrival of two young people with no experience of Africa might just prove a turning point. For the first time in his life Harry feels he has found somewhere he really belongs and something he can fight for and believe in. Ana, a journalist escaping the horrors of a different war, brings a fresh insight into the battle against poaching as she struggles with her own internal demons.
They soon realise they are up against forces far more powerful and brutal than they could ever have imagined. Foreign investors driven by greed, corrupt government officials and religious fanatics with no boundaries, draw them deeper into a web of evil.
Now truth be known, I first read this blurb in work, when we were discussing the whole Harry and Meghan leaving the royal family thing. I think we were listening to something about it on the radio, and for that reason I immediately linked Harry in Tusker to Prince Harry (don’t ask why) and at that moment decided I simply had to say yes to reviewing Tusker.
Before I go any further though, I want to tell you a little about Dougie Arnold – the pen behind the words of Tusker. On a side note, do we still say pen behind the words? Even though the most likely situation is that the words first were formed on a computer keyboard? Anyway, I digress. Sorry. Back to the review.
About The Author
Dougie Arnold’s decision, as a young teacher, to move to Kenya was to change his life. Teaching in four different international schools, the last of which he set up from scratch for the then leader of the Kenyan opposition, Ken Matiba, he fell in love with the country. Some years later, the President’s family, the Kenyattas, asked him to be head of their prep school but his father’s cancer prevented a return to Africa.
Half way through his fifteen years in Kenya he took two years out of the classroom and helped to run and market a game reserve on the edge of the Rift Valley, broadcasting some of his exploits on BBC radio and qualifying as a pilot. Wildlife and its protection became a passion.
Returning to the UK he spent eighteen years as deputy head of a leading London prep school but took early retirement in order to write. The influence of Africa is core to his work. An illustrated children’s book, Invisible Us, was released September 2019 and Tusker, a novel on elephant poaching, is to be released tomorrow – 18th March 2020.
My Thoughts on Tusker
Well as I said above, I was intrigued from the start. To say I devoured the 19 chapters would be an understatement. Although my one comment would be that I read it that quickly I did occasionally find myself being confused as to which character was which – nothing against Dougie’s writing, just my own fault for trying to read the full book in one sitting! Not something I recommend you do for any book unless you can read quickly and still manage to file away all the information you read.
There were times I found the writing a little clumsy, and the amount of dialogue at times was a bit much for me, but I still found I didn’t want to put down the book until I knew how the story ended. Given the realism of the novel, and how I easily could have just been reading someone’s diary entries from a similar workplace environment, I was at times quite moved by the sheer greed of the poachers, and the damage both they and the black market do to the world as a whole.
Overall, I would give Tusker a solid 8 out of 10. While I had a few minor dislikes about the novel, I can honestly say I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and will definitely be adding Dougie Arnold to my list of authors I would return to.
If you would like to get your hands on a copy of Tusker, and in turn help raise money to aid organisations committed to elephant conservation, then you can pre-order your copy today. Or, if you’re reading this on the 19th March or later, you can buy yourself a copy of Tusker here! Paperback book is £9.99, and Kindle copy is £3.47 – both prices correct at time of writing.