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Cry Wolf

A Novel by Wilbur Smith

.....'Cry Wolf' is an interesting book about two men and a woman trying to overcome incredible odds to aid the Ethiopian army in its battle against a vastly superior invading Italian army. Jake Barton and Gareth Swales, two men bidding on the same armored cars for distinctly different reasons. They end up joining together in a venture in which they take these vehicles across desert and mountain to the promises of wealth located in Ethiopia should these cars reach safely. Along for the ride is Vicky Camberwell, a well known reporter on her way to Ethiopia to uncover and report on the grave injustice the Italians are doing to the inferior resistance.

.....After successfully completing the grueling trip across the desert, Vicky takes a few minutes to cleanse herself of the layers of dirt that have covered her from head to toe. As she steps out of the cool water, disaster strikes.

.....'She stepped out on to the flat black rock that surrounded the pool and stood for a moment to feel the first gentle movement of the morning breeze against her naked skin, and suddenly she had the strong sensation that she was being watched. She turned swiftly, half crouching, her hands flying instinctively to cover her bosom and groin.'

.....'The eyes that watched her were of a savage golden color, and the pupils were glistening black slits. The stare was steady and unblinking.'

.....'The huge reddish-gold beast crouched on a level ledge of rock, halfway up the far bank of the ravine.It lay with its forepaws drawn up under its chin and there was a deadly stillness about it that was chilling, although Vicky did not readily recognize what she was seeing.'

.....'Then very slowly the dark ruff of the mane came erect, swelling out around the head and exaggerating its already impressive bulk. Then the tail twitched and began to swish back and forth with the steady beat of a metronome.'

.....'Suddenly Vicky knew what it was. She heard again in her mind the terrible sound in the night- and she screamed.'

.....'Jake had just completed the adjustments he was making to the ignition of his car and closed the engine cowling. He picked up the fluted bottle of Scrubbs Cloudy Ammonia to dissolve the grease from his hands. At that instant he heard the scream and he began to run without a conscious thought.'

.....'The scream was so high and shrill, an expression of mortal terror, that Jake's heart raced in sympathy and when the scream came again, if anything shriller still, he leaped the bank and went sliding and running down the steep slope of the ravine.'

.....'It was only seconds from when he heard the first scream until he came skidding and sliding down on the rocky floor of the ravine beside the pool.'

.....'He saw the naked girl crouching at the edge of the pool, both hands pressed to her mouth. Her body was pale and slim, with the small tight round buttocks of a lad and long graceful legs.'

....."Vicky," he shouted. "What is it?"

.....'And she turned quickly to him, her breasts swinging heavily at the movement, round and white with large pink nipples standing out tightly with cold and shock. Even in the extremity of the moment, he could not help but glance down at the smooth velvety plain of her belly and the fluffy dusky triangle at its base. Then she was running toward him on those long coltish legs, and her face was deadly white., and the speckled green eyes huge and swimming with rampant terror.'

....."Jake," she cried. "Oh God, Jake," and then he saw movement beyond her, halfway up the bank of the water course.'

.....'The wound had stiffened during the night, almost paralyzing the lion's hindquarters, and the torn entrails were leaking poison and infection into the body cavity. It had slowed the animal so drastically that the natural reflexive anger which the sight of a human form had roused was not strong enough to precipitate the charge.'

.....'However, the sound of a human voice immediately invoked memories of the hunters who had inflicted this terrible aching agony and the anger flared higher.'

.....'Then suddenly there was another of the hated two-legged figures, more noises and movement, all of this enough to counter the stiffness and paralyzing lethargy. The lion rose slightly out of his crouch and he growled.'

.....'Jake ran four paces to meet Vicky and she tried to throw her arms around his neck for protection, but he avoided the embrace and grasped her upper arm with his left hand, his fingers digging so far into her flesh that the pain steadied her. Using the impetus of her run, he swung her on toward the path that climbed the slope.'

....."Run," he shouted. "Keep running." And he turned back to face the crippled animal as it launched itself from the ledge into the bed of the river.'

.....'It was only then that Jake realized that he still carried a full bottle of Scrubbs Ammonia in his hands. The lion came bounding swiftly through the shallow stagnant pool towards him. Despite the wounds, it flowed with a lithe and sinuous menace. It was so close that he could see each stiff white whisker in the curled upper lip and hear the rattle of air in its throat. He let it come on, for to turn and run was suicide. At the last moment he reared back like a baseball pitcher and hurled the bottle. It was an instinctive action, using the only weapon - however puny - that was at hand.'

.....'The bottle flew straight at the lion's head, catching it in the direct center of its broad forehead as it lunged smoothly upwards towards the ledge where Jake stood.'

.....'The bottle exploded in a burst of sparkling glass splinters and a creamy gush of the pungent liquid. It filled both the lions eyes, blinding it instantly, and the stench of concentrated ammonia in its open mouth and flaring nostrils killed its sense of smell and shocked its whole system so violently that it missed its footing and fell, roaring with the agony of scalded eyeballs and burning throat, into the shallow water where it rolled helplessly on its back.'

.....'Jake ran forward seeking the few seconds of advantage he had gained. He stopped to pick up a water-worn ironstone boulder the shape and size of a football, and swung it above his head with both hands.'

.....'As he poised on the ledge above the pool, the lion recovered its balance and came at him blindly.' (Pages 120-122)*

.....Well, I have to give you something to look forward to, right? Anyway this is just a lion, wait until the group has to face the modern and massive Italian army as it attacks the almost defenseless Ethiopian rabble that resists it. Somehow Jake, Gareth, and Vicky have to come up with a way of stopping The 'Eyeties' and save the almost defenseless country.

*'Cry Wolf' Wilbur Smith. Published by Pan Books Ltd. London, England. 1976.