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A Ghost and His Gold By Roberta Eaton Cheadle
Themes of A Ghost and His Gold
My main intention with A Gost and His Gold was to describe the events and circumstances of the Second Anglo Boer War which resulted in the anger and resentment that remained among the different cultures and populations after the war and set the stage for the future of South Africa.
Gold, and people’s desire for wealth, is a repeated theme of this book and is included in the title, together with ghost as this book is historical but has a strong supernatural thread.
I had the general themes for A Ghost and His Gold in place prior to starting the writing of this book and I expanded them as it progressed. The main themes are as follows:
- The impact of greed and corruption on countries and people;
- Bad decision making and their effect on soldiers and civilians;
- Evil perpetuating the development of hatred and evil;
- The effect of war on the political and social development of a country;
- The individual mindset versus the group mentality including pro-war propaganda;
- Death; and
- The reality of war
This is an extract from one of the war scenes during the siege of Mafeking which illustrates some of these themes:
“The stench of sweat and tension hung in the air as the camp waited silently and watchfully in the cold. My taut nerves made me certain that vengeful eyes were watching us from the cover of the surrounding vegetation. I twisted my head this way and that, looking for any signs of movement in the heavy darkness. I saw nothing. The only sounds were the heavy breathing of my comrades and the crunch of hard ground as they shuffled their feet.
At 4.30 a.m. the bark of the first gun rent the cold early morning air. It was still dark, and the flash shone brightly, momentarily dazzling us. Shells from the 7-pounders followed, soaring through the air and exploding around the target in brilliant flaming balls.
“The railway line’s been pulled up about half a mile from here.”
The news travelled along the lines of men, just as C Squadron prepared to charge forward.
“The armoured train isn’t coming.”
I watched C Squadron surge forward as a mass, each man focusing on his own steps, knowing that if he fell, he would be trampled by those coming afterwards.
This is it, I thought as my men readied themselves to follow. There is no flight option left. Now we must fight to win or be slaughtered like pigs.
I ran, legs pumping and bayonet held at the ready, to the discordant notes of the supporting artillery guns and the Maxim which intensified the din and swirled around me like an insane orchestra. I was conscious of the men of my squadron around me, as well as those of C Squadron about three hundred yards ahead of me.
A great surge of comradery surged through me as these men, my brotherhood, charged forward through the smoke, directly into a hail of bullets from the Boer musketry. Death seemed certain, but, at this precise moment, this did not matter to me; a cloud of red anger and lust for blood having descended over my mind.
The anger prevented fear and grew in its intensity as the occasional figure, including that of Captain Fitzclarence, dropped around me in small explosions of red.
C Squadron reached the fort, which was hidden by bushes, and the guns roared; the sound of the discordant orchestra growing and swelling. My men and I slowed our forward momentum as we watched more ghostly forms falling, to lie in ghastly bleeding piles on the ground.
The few men still standing started to fall back, shouting at my squadron to follow suit.
“The walls are too high … Impossible to mount without scaling ladders.”
Their shouts filled the air, mingling with the gunfire and moans, groans and cries of the wounded.
One of my men, William, and I picked up Captain Fitzclarence as we slowly and deliberately retraced our steps. The blood lust had faded from the men’s eyes and their moods had turned sullen. Expressions of dejection had settled on some faces.
The Boers stopped their fire as soon as the retreat commenced, and the resultant silence felt heavy on me, like a shroud. This behaviour by the Boers reinforced my belief that they are decent men. They could have picked a lot more of us off during this retreat if they’d kept shooting.
Moving backwards, lugging the heavy body, was immeasurably hard. My overtaxed leg and back muscles trembled, and my sweat slicked hands slipped and slid under the captain’s arms. I expelled a huge sigh of relief when William and I were finally able to lay our burden down at a designated spot near to the stranded armoured train. My legs refused to hold me up any longer and I sank to my knees.
That was when I noticed the blood. A bullet had grazed my chest and I hadn’t even noticed. Blood had stained my shirt and was running down into my trousers. It was strange how the moment I saw the blood immense pain seared the right hand side of my chest. It was like being slammed with a club.”
GIVEAWAYS: (4) e-book copies of A GHOST AND HIS GOLD
After Tom and Michelle Cleveland move into their recently built, modern townhouse, their housewarming party is disrupted when a drunken game with an Ouija board goes wrong and summons a sinister poltergeist, Estelle, who died in 1904.
Estelle makes her presence known in a series of terrifying events, culminating in her attacking Tom in his sleep with a knife. But, Estelle isn’t alone. Who are the shadows lurking in the background – one in an old-fashioned slouch hat and the other, a soldier, carrying a rifle?After discovering their house has been built on the site of one of the original farms in Irene, Michelle becomes convinced that the answer to her horrifying visions lie in the past. She must unravel the stories of the three phantoms’ lives, and the circumstances surrounding their untimely deaths during the Second Anglo Boer War, in order to understand how they are tied together and why they are trapped in the world of ghosts between life and death. As the reasons behind Estelle’s malevolent behaviour towards Tom unfold, Michelle’s marriage comes under severe pressure and both their lives are threatened.
Roberta Eaton Cheadle
Roberta Eaton Cheadle is a South African writer and poet specialising in historical, paranormal, and horror novels and short stories. She is an avid reader in these genres and her writing has been influenced by famous authors including Bram Stoker, Edgar Allan Poe, Amor Towles, Stephen Crane, Enrich Maria Remarque, George Orwell, Stephen King, and Colleen McCullough.
Roberta has short stories and poems in several anthologies and has 2 published novels, Through the Nethergate, a historical supernatural fantasy, and A Ghost and His Gold, a historical paranormal novel set in South Africa.
Roberta has 9 children’s books published under the name Robbie Cheadle.
Roberta was educated at the University of South Africa where she achieved a Bachelor of Accounting Science in 1996 and a Honours Bachelor of Accounting Science in 1997. She was admitted as a member of The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants in 2000.
Roberta has worked in corporate finance from 2001 until the present date and has written 7 publications relating to investing in Africa. She has won several awards over her 20-year career in the category of Transactional Support Services.
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