Book: The Shell by Tony Richescategories: Book, Action, Africa, Mombasa, Kenya, Kidnapping, East African Adventure
Tony Richesabout this book: My father was in the Royal Air Force and stationed in British East Africa when I was seven years old. I was just old enough to realise the significance of Jamhuri (Independence) Day, when Jomo Kenyatta drove in proud procession through the streets of Nairobi. It was the birth of the new Kenya and I clearly remember the excitement and celebrations. The Kenyan flag was flying everywhere you looked and there was a real sense of history in the making.
We also felt the heightened sense of danger for a young British family living in the middle of it all. There was an 'Askari' on guard duty outside our front door at nights and my parents had to defend the house against intruders. My memory of those times is a happy one but the risks were always present. We travelled in convoy for safety and on a family holiday to Mombasa my mother warned me to watch out for the men who sailed the dhows.
I always knew I would return to Kenya but it wasn't until forty-three years later that my wife and I went on a holiday there. It was a surprise to be told it was far too dangerous for us to even visit Nairobi, although we did drive through the city and I was impressed at the progress that had been made. Mombasa had also changed. The staff at the hotel advised that, for our own safety, we should never go outside the hotel grounds without one of their men to escort us.
One afternoon we forgot the advice and walked further than intended along the beach. Realising the danger we were in, we nervously made our way back. That was when the idea for this book first came to me. What would we do if we were attacked, far from the safety of our hotel?
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