Michael, a missionary priest in Kenya, has just killed Munyasya, a retired army officer. It might have been an accident, but Mulonzya, a politician resentful of the power of foreign churches, tries to exploit the tragedy for his own ends. Boniface, a young church worker, and his wife, Josephine, have just lost their child. They did not make it to the hospital in time, possibly because Michael made a detour to retrieve a letter from the Mission, a letter from Janet, a former volunteer teacher who was the priest's neighbour for two years. It is Munyasya who has the last laugh, however, when he reveals that he was probably in control of events all along. Thirty years on, the same characters find their lives still influenced by his memory.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8" Width: 4.7" Height: 1.1" Weight: 0.95 lbs.
Release Date Mar 20, 2007
Publisher libros international
ISBN 1905988079 ISBN13 9781905988075
Availability 0 units.
More About Philip Spires
Philip Spires is author of five books. Mission and A Fool's Knot are African novels set in Kenya. Voyagers is a set of travel stories, and A Search For Donald Cottee is a Quixote parody set in Benidorm. He collaborated with Martin Offiah in 50 Of The Best, a selection of rugby league's best tries. Philip Spires was born in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, and has worked and travelled widely in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Europe. He currently lives in Spain.
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 say this so you'll know I know a bit about what goes on on the continent.
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 Mombassa 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.
I liked this book, saw a bit of Ruark in it, but it was certainly Clavellesqe in length. It's a good story and if you liked Shogun or Tai-Pan, I think you'll like it.
Impressive Mar 31, 2008
A fine story set in beautiful Kenya, colorful and filled with mystery, intrigue, and twists. The characters are real as is their perceptions when seen through their eyes. A magnigicent story set in magnificent locale.
Much to enjoy Jan 16, 2008
Mission" by Philip Spires Reviewed by CL Grant
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. This is thankfully not the end of the role for the priest. His mission continues in London and the story is as interesting as before.
To me the book is about points of view: the same event seems so different depending whose eyes one is looking through. 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.
I like how, in the end, things are not quite what they first seemed.
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.
One has to pay close attention as this is not a linear progressive story. It is a very interesting and delightfully challenging read. Highly recommended.
Cao Thac, Australia, reviews Mission by Philip Spires Sep 15, 2007
Budget airlines have made travelling far easier in recent years and many of us have enjoyed holidays in exotic places: on safaris in East Africa, trekking through Nepal, cruising the this site. However, after putting away the souvenirs and sorting out the snap shots, we often feel that there is something amiss. Yes, the animals are great, the local markets colourful and some of the foods quite exquisite. But do we get to know anything of the local people? We exchange a few words with them, engage in bargaining over prices, and laugh over misunderstandings, but we know nothing of their hopes and aspirations. Sometimes, we may have serious conversations in bars or restaurants with some locals that are fluent in our language or with some expatriates working in the country. Unfortunately, even these conversations may be just stereo-types: the country is utterly corrupted, the government is hopelessly incompetent; the people have not moved from the Middle Ages, etc.
Mission, by Philip Spires, 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 - a Catholic priest who cares more about the welfare of the people in this life than for their souls in the next life, an earnest young Kenyan who wants to become a Catholic priest, a couple of local entrepreneurs who cleverly exploit the business and political opportunities in Kenya just after it gained independence etc - 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.
Breathtaking! Jun 28, 2007
It's hard to believe that this is a debut novel. The writer Phillip Spires is a master at his craft and after buying the book I visited his website searching for more titles but alas found none. 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, I particularly warmed to several of them. A long read, not your average 'beach holiday read' but certainly worthwhile and rewarding.