had been opened, but the contents appeared to be all right. The thief had plainly been satisfied with their perusal.
"Whoever stole them," said the captain, "was afraid to retain them lest a search should be made, and as he had no way to destroy them he tossed them down here where they could easily be found."
"Who else had a key to my cabin?" Guy asked sternly.
"The key to Torres' cabin will open yours," replied the captain, "and several of the crew also have keys."
"Then Torres is the man," said Guy. "The scoundrel looks capable of anything."
"I wouldn't advise you to accuse him," said the captain gravely. "He may cause trouble for you on shore. You must remember that British influence is little felt at Berbera. Your best plan is to say nothing, but relate the whole affair to the governor at Zaila. And now, as we may lie in the harbor here all day, you had better go on shore. You will see a strange sight."
Guy put the recovered documents away in an inner pocket, and
"The River of Darkness" is a highly readable adventure story. In terms of novelist skill, it is well done.
Its content is far from original. Graydon cribs from Burton's _First Footsteps in East Africa_ (itself well worth reading) as well as Haggard's novels -- and indeed he acknowledges his debt to both these writers by mentioning their names in his book.
It is filled with scientific implausibilities -- like the cave-dwelling, man-eating snakes that try to devour the narrator.
But being derivative and re-using material found elsewhere is a classic part of the adventure novelist's trade, so there's no foul there.
If you're looking for great literature, look elsewhere. But if you want a bit of straightforward entertainment, you may well find it here.
2013 SFR GALAXY AWARD WINNER
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