10 books like Whatever You Do, Don't Run

By Peter Allison,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Whatever You Do, Don't Run. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Dark of the Sun

By Wilbur Smith,

Book cover of The Dark of the Sun

I'm sometimes compared to the late, great, Wilbur Smith, who wrote dozens of books set in Africa. I think that if there is a similarity, then my books are probably most like Wilbur's earlier novels, where he tended to write about contemporary southern Africa (as I do now). My favourites were his stand-alone novels, including The Dark of the Sun about a group of mercenaries who have to rescue a train load of civilians during the fighting in the former Belgian Congo in the 1960s. It was made into a movie back in the day (The Mercenaries), and later provided the inspiration for the Bruce Willis film, Tears of the Sun.

The Dark of the Sun

By Wilbur Smith,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Dark of the Sun as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An action-packed thriller by global bestselling author, Wilbur Smith.

'A master storyteller' - Sunday Times

'Wilbur Smith is one of those benchmarks against whom others are compared' - The Times

'No one does adventure quite like Smith' - Daily Mirror

The highest prize comes at the highest price . . .

Captain Bruce Curry has a simple enough mission: to lead his mercenary soldiers to rescue a town cut off by rebel fighting in the Belgian Congo. But events quickly take a turn for the worse as it becomes clear that the town's diamond supplies are the real focus of…


Hold My Hand I'm Dying

By John Gordon Davis,

Book cover of Hold My Hand I'm Dying

This was the first novel I read about Africa and one of the first 'grown-up' books I was allowed to read as a young teen. It had a huge impact on me. At the time, growing up in Australia, I didn't know I'd end up living in Africa and writing about the continent, but this book moved me. Set in the former Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), it's a thriller and love story told against the background of a tumultuous struggle for a country. When I first visited Zimbabwe for real it was like I'd been there already – I had, through the pages of this moving story.

Hold My Hand I'm Dying

By John Gordon Davis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hold My Hand I'm Dying as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A stirring and compelling story, full of adventure, set against the background of the move to freedom in Africa. In the face of opposition, hatred, violence and death, the gentler human feelings of friendship and love are nonetheless maintained. Joseph Mahoney is the last Colonial Commissioner in the Kariba Gorge, faced with easing the transition to new rule. To complicate matters, his servant Samson has been accused of murder, and he is drifting apart from Suzie, whom he loves very deeply. Yet personal matters apart, he must deal with the simmering undercurrent of violence and revenge that might envelope the…


Fever

By Deon Meyer, K.L. Seefers (translator),

Book cover of Fever

South African author Deon Meyer is, in my opinion, the best crime writer in the world. Most of his books are detective stories set in Cape Town, but Fever was a radical departure for him. As an author, I know how important it is for me to keep myself engaged and interested in my writing and not become stale. Deon shook up his readership with this tale of a fictional pandemic (written before Covid 19) and its impact on South Africa. Brilliant and scary and top marks to Deon for leaping out of his comfort zone.

Fever

By Deon Meyer, K.L. Seefers (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fever as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'UK readers, you have a nice surprise coming. No, not Brexit, FEVER, by Deon Meyer. Reminiscent of THE STAND and THE PASSAGE. Great stuff' STEPHEN KING

'An epic read that
has a dystopian feel and makes
you ask the question: What if?' SUN

I want to tell you about my Father's murder.

I want to tell you who killed him and why.

This is the story of my life.

And the story of your life and your world too, as you will see.

Nico Storm and his father drive across a desolate South Africa, constantly alert for feral dogs, motorcycle…


The Last Resort

By Douglas Rogers,

Book cover of The Last Resort: A Memoir of Mischief and Mayhem on a Family Farm in Africa

Douglas Rogers, a Zimbabwean journalist living in the US, tells the true story of how his elderly parents survived a harrowing period in the African country's history when former President Robert Mugabe's supporters were invading and claiming white-owned farms. Rather than fleeing, Rogers' parents transformed their backpackers' lodge into a have for a wildlife disparate group of hookers, spies, soldiers, and refugees. It's hilarious and harrowing and proof that in Africa, truth is stranger than fiction! By the way, Zimbabwe is now a beautiful, peaceful country to visit and an excellent safari destination.

The Last Resort

By Douglas Rogers,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Last Resort as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Thrilling, heartbreaking, and, at times, absurdly funny, The Last Resort is a remarkable true story about one family in a country under siege and a testament to the love, perseverance, and resilience of the human spirit.

Born and raised in Zimbabwe, Douglas Rogers is the son of white farmers living through that country’s long and tense transition from postcolonial rule. He escaped the dull future mapped out for him by his parents for one of adventure and excitement in Europe and the United States. But when Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe launched his violent program to reclaim white-owned land and Rogers’s…


Africa Bites

By Lloyd Camp,

Book cover of Africa Bites: Scrapes and escapes in the African Bush

Yes, Lloyd is a friend of mine but despite the number of campfires we have sat around swapping tales there were many in this book I had never heard. Like all good guides, Lloyd is a natural storyteller, but he is also a great reader and that has a positive effect on this, his first book. His writing shines, the stories move along briskly like a startled warthog, and in no time it is over and you want more.

Africa Bites

By Lloyd Camp,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Africa Bites as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Africa can be scary. And thrilling. Often, that's the same thing!Lloyd Camp takes you on an evocative journey through some of the wildest places in Africa as he re-lives colourful vignettes from his adventurous childhood and long career as a safari guide. This is a charming, funny, thoughtful and often hair-raising series of short stories that illustrate Lloyd's enthusiastic delight in leading his clients into the wilderness areas of Africa. Forthright yet light-hearted, Lloyd's suspenseful narrative emphasises both his love of the African bush and the courage and resilience of the Africans that he encounters in his odysseys. In the…


Mukiwa

By Peter Godwin,

Book cover of Mukiwa: A White Boy in Africa

Godwin’s brilliant memoir of growing up in what was then Southern Rhodesia, fighting in a war, then defending as a lawyer some of those who he’d fought against is told with enormous wit and great literary flair. It’s a travesty that no film has ever been made of this book, but perhaps no one would believe the stories.

Mukiwa

By Peter Godwin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mukiwa as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Mukiwa opens with Peter Godwin, six years old, describing the murder of his neighbor by African guerillas, in 1964, pre-war Rhodesia. Godwin's parents are liberal whites, his mother a governement-employed doctor, his father an engineer. Through his innocent, young eyes, the story of the beginning of the end of white rule in Africa unfolds. The memoir follows Godwin's personal journey from the eve of war in Rhodesia to his experience fighting in the civil war that he detests to his adventures as a journalist in the new state of Zimbabwe, covering the bloody return to Black rule. With each transition…


Maru

By Bessie Head,

Book cover of Maru

When I moved to Botswana, I wanted to learn more about the country, where I should live for more than 2 years. Somebody gave me books by Bessie Head and I learned so much by just reading these books. Maru was not the only book I’d read by Bessie Head, but it was one of the best books on Botswana.

Maru

By Bessie Head,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Maru as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Read worldwide for her wisdom, authenticity, and skillful prose, South African–born Bessie Head (1937–1986) offers a moving and magical tale of an orphaned girl, Margaret Cadmore, who goes to teach in a remote village in Botswana where her own people are kept as slaves. Her presence polarizes a community that does not see her people as human, and condemns her to the lonely life of an outcast. In the love story and intrigue that follows, Head brilliantly combines a portrait of loneliness with a rich affirmation of the mystery and spirituality of life. The core of this otherworldly, rhapsodic work…


Africanfuturism

By Wole Talabi,

Book cover of Africanfuturism: An Anthology

It contains work by some of the most brilliant speculative fiction writers on the continent and also expands on the title, Africanfuturism, in its Introduction by Nnedi Okorafor. She also happens to have a story in the book. Another of the stories in it, by Motswana writer Tlotlo Tsamaase won the 2021 Nommo award for short story and a number of works in it, like Egoli by Tendai Huchu also made recommended reading lists and Year's Best anthologies. The anthology itself was a finalist in the Locus award for best anthology.

Africanfuturism

By Wole Talabi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Africanfuturism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


A Question of Power

By Bessie Head,

Book cover of A Question of Power

Do you like a good scare? Well, Stephen King is one kind of scary, but A Question of Power is something else altogether: a descent into a sunless valley writhing with monsters. We know that these monsters dwell in the mind of the main character, Elizabeth. But there’s no safety in knowing that, for we’re locked in with them. If we sometimes climb a tree and feel a fresh breeze on our faces, it’s with the knowledge that those tentacles can slither up and snatch us back into hell at a moment’s notice. And they do. 

I didn’t start with what many consider the most important facts of this novel: that Elizabeth is a mixed-race woman born in South Africa and exiled to Botswana. And those are vital facts. But Elizabeth is also one luminous, suffering soul. Watching her fight her way out of that dark valley is a terrifying…

A Question of Power

By Bessie Head,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Question of Power as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"It wasn't any kind of physical stamina that kept her going, but a vague, instinctive pattern of normal human decencies combined with the work she did, the people she met each day and the unfolding of a project with exciting inventive possibilities. But a person eventually becomes a replica of the inner demons he battles with. Any kind of demon is more powerful than normal human decencies, because such things do not exist for him." Bessie Head

In this fast-paced, semi-autobiographical novel, Head exposes the complicated life of Elizabeth, whose reality is intermingled with nightmarish dreams and hallucinations. Like the…


The Sunbird

By Wilbur Smith,

Book cover of The Sunbird

The Sunbird was Wilber Smith’s first book. It was one of the first books on Wild African Adventure that I read and has kindled in me a lifelong passion for Africa, African animals, and the love of wildlife. It was a reason that I became a veterinarian and that I wanted to work with African Wildlife. It is a mix of contemporary and historic African Fiction. It is memorable because it is a wonderful story that I would want to share around the fire in a camp somewhere in the heart of the African bush. I would want Wilbur Smith to tell me the story as we sit around the fire. It evokes all that is magical and wonderful about Africa, the continent I love and live on. The book taught me that the story is paramount. Not the skill of the author as a literary giant. I want to…

The Sunbird

By Wilbur Smith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Sunbird as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A photograph and a curse are the only clues Dr Ben Kazin has before he stumbles on the archaeological discovery. Beneath the red cliffs of Botswanaland a civilization has remained buried for millennia. But the magic of uncovering a lost culture is interrupted by the violence of terrorists, love, intrigue and the secrets of centuries.


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