The Gifting – preview

book preview of The Gifting by Ivan Rudolph





Its roots extend back through
history and must be understood if we are going to defeat it. Go back with Lenny
Johnson into Africa and feel the heat of a terrorist onslaught and its
aftermath, then follow him into the present and the future as he is drawn into
intrigue and tragedy while trying to defeat a terrible foe.

“The Gifting is a nail-biting
thriller!” – Professor David Myers, who continues – “From the terrorist way
against Mugabe in the 1970s to International drugs and terrorism in Canada in
2003, this
harrowing news novel by
Ivan Rudolph is full of guerrilla warfare and dramatic action.”



In Store Price: $AU22.95 

Online Price:   $AU21.95 


1 920699 171

Format: Paperback

Number of pages:



Author: Ivan

Imprint: Zeus

Publisher: Zeus Publications

Date Published: December 2002

Language: English





in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Ivan Rudolph hitch-hiked in Southern and Central
Africa as a teenager. Later on he was caught up in the war against terrorism.

married his university sweetheart, became an active Christian and taught science
and mathematics in Zimbabwe, London and Malawi before moving to Australia in
1985, where he is still teaching at Toowoomba Grammar school. Ivan and Brenda
are proud parents of four children – and a border collie.

has had eight books published, one of which was made into a film in the 1980s,
and there are moves afoot to make a film based on his trilogy about the great
Australian, John Flynn. He also hopes for a movie based on his trilogy about
international terrorism – of which “The Gifting” is the first volume.
Watch out for the sequel, “The Hunting”.


Read a sample:

CHAPTER ONE (part sample)




Johnson had a problem.

Like many other youngsters in Rhodesia, he loved guns and hunting. Since
the age of six he had been allowed by his father to hunt birds using a pellet
gun. More recently, together with his brother David and sister Margaret, he had
begun using the family’s .22 and .303 rifles for target practice.

Living in frontier conditions, with a terrorist war developing around
them, Mr Johnson wanted his children to be able to defend themselves. Their
gentle, placid, plump mother refused to shoot rifles but came with them and
practiced using the tiny Browning pistol that she slept with under her pillow.
The rifles were returned to the cupboard after target practice and were not
available for recreational use by the children without permission.

Lenny, being 15, was considered old enough to hunt with the .22,
providing he was very careful and also used it well away from the farmhouse.

“Your first accident will also be the last time I let you use the
rifle,” his father warned him.

Although only a small bore weapon that made a sharp “ping” for a
report, it allowed him to shoot rabbits and small game.

In some respects Rhodesia adopted a frontier mentality to guns and there
was little unusual about a lad on a farm going hunting from an early age. He had
been taught the usual safety procedures and was responsible in the way he
handled a weapon.

Lenny was a dedicated hunter but not so his younger brother, David, who
went along on occasion only to keep him company. His older sister Margaret
considered his hunting barbaric and took every opportunity to tell him so.
However, he always had other company and willing helpers in the two African
servants: Sixpence, the Cook, and Gift, the Gardener.

These blacks were not really interested in the hunt so much as the fact
that he gave them everything he shot. In turn, this was not so much an act of
generosity but of necessity; the Africans were needed to dispose of the prey
because he preferred to hunt illegally over the Mozambique border where the game
was more plentiful. Besides, Lenny and David would sneak out to the servant
quarters at the back after a successful hunt and sample the game that had been
potted. They both loved the native dough made out of maize meal, called ‘sadza’,
that they ate with the relish that the Africans cooked up on an open fire in a
large, blackened pot. The relish always contained tomatoes and a variety of
herbs and was very flavoursome with a smoky tang.

But Lenny’s hunting adventures developed some serious setbacks. The
first was when he shamefacedly admitted to his father that he had shot the Cook
with the .22.

“Oh, no!” his father exclaimed. “Where’s he?”

“Waiting outside the kitchen.”

“You didn’t kill him then? Man, I nearly died of fright! That gun can

“No. You see I was aiming at a rabbit when he put his hand out in front
of the gun. He was trying to point at a duiker (small buck) and did not realise
I was shooting at something else.”

His father did not comment and further investigation would have to wait
for later. He hurried outside. He found a woeful Sixpence whose left hand was
bandaged with a dirty shirt through which the blood continued to drip.

A sympathetic family doctor and a ‘compensation’ gift of money to the
cook smoothed the incident over. Sixpence soon recovered full use of the hand.

However, there remained the investigation by an upset father. The cook
could have died from a shot to the head or heart. The boy had not been careful
enough and would have to be taught a salutary lesson. “You’re banned from
using the rifles to hunt with, do you understand? Next time you could kill
someone. Go to the bathroom,” he commanded his son.

The bathroom rendezvous was a painful experience. His father slowly
removed his leather belt and made him take down his pants.

Unfortunately his dad had been given a fright and was upset, which meant
that he hit all the harder. He ended by saying, “And the next time you get a
hiding you can cut your own stick for me to thrash you with!” This was the
ultimate deterrent that Lenny had been threatened with before, but he could not
work out why it was supposed to be so terrifying. He did not wish to find out
first hand, though, but nor did he want to stop hunting. Therefore he was caught
in a dilemma.

Their small Rhodesian farm ran up to the border with Mozambique. It was a
mixed farm and was close to the nearby town of Umtali (now Mutare), so there was
a ready market for their maize, fruit and vegetables. He was used to working
hard, both before and after school, and his young body was brown and strong. He
was tall and handsome in a rugged way, with crinkly brown hair, soft hazel eyes
and a strong, squarish face. While not a ready talker, his friendliness and a
cheery lopsided grin gave him a natural charm. But work on the farm bored him.
He lay awake at nights and dreamed of being a famous hunter, leading safaris and
shooting man-eating lions.

For several weeks he wrestled against the temptation to sneak out the .22
again. He was not a disobedient child on the whole, but passionate about hunting
and considered the ban unfair considering the circumstances of the accident.

Ultimately Lenny’s first love won over his fear of retribution. He
persuaded Gift, the Gardener, to accompany him into Mozambique to go hunting,
the Cook having been warned never to go again. Mr Johnson had neglected to
instruct the Gardener not to go with Lenny, so Lenny managed to convince the
simple soul that he was free to go.

They slipped over into Mozambique some evenings after school. It was
rugged terrain, mainly hills and wooded gullies and uninhabited for several
kilometres until the ground flattened out somewhat. This did not mean that they
were alone in the bush and Lenny often came across crude wire traps designed to
throttle rodents and rabbits, sometimes with an unfortunate animal captured in
the trap. The animals suffered a great deal before choking to death and Lenny
always dismantled the traps and removed the wire from them. Seldom, though, did
they see any Mozambican Africans, and then it was only a flash of black and the
crackle and rustle of grass and leaves as they melted away.

After some happy weeks of successful hunting, disaster struck. He once
again had to front up to his father in their lounge room and confess
shamefacedly, “I have shot the Gardener. He’s out the back.”

His father panicked at first, but then recovered when he remembered the
previous incident.

“Where did you get him? In the hand again?”

“No. In the head.”

Mr Johnson spilled his beer in fright.

Rushing out, he was relieved to find the gardener still standing and very
much alive, but with a cloth wound around his head.

“It was just bad luck, Dad,” Lenny ventured in his defence. “The
bullet ricocheted off a rock that was hidden by the bush and hit Gift after

A ricochet only, thank heavens! That was the reason the Gardener was
still alive.

Deftly removing the cloth, Mr. Johnson discovered the bullet had
penetrated the scalp and was lodged as a grey lump beneath it. Sitting Gift
down, he was able to remove the bullet with a tweezers. He then took pleasure in
pouring disinfectant into the wound and bandaging it, knowing how much that
would have hurt, to ‘teach him a lesson’. Besides a wince and a stiffening
of his muscles, the African gave no indication of pain and said nothing. The
stoicism of the black man was way in advance of the softer whites who ruled over
his land.

It was now time to mete out the ultimate punishment and Lenny had to
‘cut your own stick. If it breaks on your backside, you’ll get another
hiding, so make sure it’s strong enough to do the job’.

As he wandered through the trees, Lenny began to understand the dilemma.
Would a wide and flat one hurt less than a narrow one? He was unsure and cut a
few first and tapped them against his leg reflectively, to try them out.
Ultimately he decided upon a short flat one: short because it might provide less
leverage and flat so that it would only bruise and not cut the skin open.

The thrashing was so painful he could not sit down without extreme
discomfort for several days. He was unsure whether his choice of stick had been
a wise one and hoped he would never find himself needing to make a similar
selection again.

He did not hunt for several months after this excruciating experience. He
unlocked the gun cupboard surreptitiously and looked at the weapons longingly,
picking each up and sighting down the barrel, but then replaced them with a

His father noticed him moping around and felt sorry for the lad. “Why
don’t you shoot birds again with your pellet gun? The queleas are making a
mess of the crops. You would be doing some good. Only, don’t go over the
border again whatever you do. Anton Rodrigues, who farms over there, tells me
there is movement by terrorists (African Nationalist guerrillas) in Mozambique.
He thinks they’re going to start coming over the border near us. If they find
you alone in the bush, they’ll shoot you for sure.”   

Rhodesia shared borders with four countries in Africa: the well known and
friendly South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana and Zambia – but the border with
Mozambique was the longest of these so it was not surprising that terrorists
wanting to free Rhodesia from white rule would infiltrate from there.

“Won’t they attack our farmhouse when they come past?”

“No, no. They want to subvert the Africans deep inside Rhodesia, so
they need to remain undetected. They want safe routes in. They’ll only shoot if
they know they’ve been seen and their cover is blown. Providing we stay inside
the house from sunset onwards, we’re quite safe here.”

“And Uncle Piet? Did he see them and is that why they killed him?”

Lenny was referring to a distant relative, Piet Oberholzer, who had been
ambushed and killed in July 1964 near Melsetter, one of the first casualties of
the liberation struggle.

“No, but he was not near the border when he was killed, which proves my
point. We are safer here on the border than anywhere else, providing we don’t
disturb them. They want to ambush people inside Rhodesia and run back into
Mozambique. That’s how they operate. Anyhow, there have been a number of
incidents hereabouts since Piet was murdered, but none of them have been at the
border itself.”

Over the years, Lenny would wonder at his father’s confidence that they
would not be attacked. He learned that people felt safe once they were cocooned
inside their own homes regardless of the danger that lurked outside. It was
almost as if they fooled themselves that others would be attacked but not them.
It was a strange quirk of human nature, perhaps hearkening back to life in the
womb and not one that he ever understood.

months slid by and he became increasingly restless. He put out some feelers, but
neither Gift nor Sixpence would accompany him on a hunt; it was more than their
jobs were worth and work was becoming scarce because many whites were selling up
and leaving the country.



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