Hey guys. Today is my stop on the Tusker blog tour and I am bringing you a guest post by the author, Dougie Arnold. Enjoy.
Author: Dougie Arnold
Release Date: 19th March 2020
Page Count: 298
Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52421302-tusker
Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tusker-Dougie-Arnold-ebook/dp/B084KW7113
Summary: 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.
Half of all the net profits due to the author will be used to help organisations committed to elephant conservation.
Things we learn about the main protagonists in Tusker
I think we have all wondered how we would respond if we moved away from everything familiar and went to live in a totally different environment in another country. This is the position we find Harry in at the start of Tusker. He is on a gap year helping out his uncle in a remote game reserve in Kenya where elephant poaching is on the increase.
Perhaps rather unexpectedly he finds himself remarkably at home. He is surrounded by individuals who have spent a lifetime in the African bush and he shows a natural ability to learn from them in ways he couldn’t have imagined. Despite his youth he discovers a quiet authority that others come to respect and as he grows in confidence so his role in the story becomes key.
Harry starts to realise that for the first time in his life he really feels a sense of belonging and each day has real purpose and meaning. He also brings modern ideas to individuals who have been stuck in rather a time warp. As these are accepted and are seen to play a greater part in protecting the wildlife in the reserve, so his own drive to find out who is behind the poaching become all consuming.
He is very much a people person and throughout the story he has an endless desire to keep learning. He wants to repay the trust that others have placed in him. Harry is a very protective individual and his desire to see that one small elephant family come to no harm is only equaled by his enthusiasm and endless optimism in helping Ana through especially challenging times and situations.
His weaknesses are really connected with his youth and readers would certainly empathies with him He is sometimes unrealistic and idealistic about what he expects both from himself and others. Despite the rugged beauty of Kenya he struggles at times with the negatives of the country too.
However, what ultimately disturbs him and also becomes a great driver is the utter brutality and callousness of those behind the poaching. When he finds himself in an apparently hopeless situation he has to reach deeper inside himself than he could ever have imagined, not just for his own sake but for others and his precious wildlife too. Will he find the strength to persevere and protect what he loves or will he be found wanting, not the man he hopes he has become but still the boy from south London?
Ana’s arrival in the reserve brings a fresh dimension to the story. Outwardly she seems no different from many other young, educated women but her internal demons that she struggles to suppress become a dominant and controlling force as the story unfolds.
As a successful young journalist her inquiring and logical mind brings a fresh approach to some aspects of the crisis facing the reserve. Although she knows little about either Kenya or wildlife at the start, her research and ability to be analytical makes her a valuable part of the anti-poaching team.
Her experiences while reporting on how the war in Syria was affecting young people have left her in a dark place and she is suffering from PTSD. In some ways the reserve represents a chance for her to heal. She develops a special bond with some of the elephants but her suspicions about powerful forces behind the poaching gradually become dominant.
Ana has always been a great one for travel and experiences in her life. She has a strong sense of social justice and a feeling that the world is losing its way. In many respects therefore the reserve and time reconnecting with nature and living away from the internet is a powerful healer. Her friendship with Harry provides a real beacon of light.
However, despite her efforts to be more positive, the vile skeletons of Syria and the scars they left remain ever present. As her circumstances worsen she has to confront her darkest fears alone and in the harshest of surroundings.
As the story hurtles towards its conclusion she begins to find an inner light, hoping against hope that despite the fragility of her situation good might actually prevail over the evil of those forces who would stop at nothing to achieve their aim.
Dougie Arnold worked as a teacher in Kenya in four different international prep schools, the last of which he set up from scratch. Half way through his career there, he took time out of education, gained his pilot’s licence and helped to run and market a game reserve on the edge of Rift Valley, an amazing experience that will always stay with him. On returning to the UK, he was the deputy head of a leading London prep school before taking early retirement to become a story teller. The influence of Africa is at the core of his work. An illustrated children’s book, Invisible Us, was published last September and received excellent five-star reviews. Dougie lives with his family in South West London.