Shadows Over an African Heart

Authentic at Every Turn - So Real It's Scary

The author has obviously done her research! This was a hard book for me to read, not because it's a bad or poorly written book, but because it's so realistic that I ended up angry and in tears over the plight of the animals and the conditions the Zimbabwean people were forced to deal with under the corrupt and tyrannical rule of Mugabe. He was a cancer that spread through the government attracting the worse kinds of thugs and sociopaths. I could go on, but this book is really more about trying to conserve Zimbabwe's wildlife while working within a corrupted system. What really makes it so realistic for me is that the hero of this tale, Hector Kaminjolo, is an amalgamation of several real life Park Rangers and several of the incidents that are described in the book are based on actual events. Now, don't get me wrong, there's plenty of excitement and adventure in this book. I don't like to go into details because I feel it ruins the story, but I would like to say that all the years I shed getting to the end were totally worth it. Gotta love Karmic justice!

Lori, Goodreads (5 out of 5 stars), Oct 23, 2019

Edge of my seat

Diana M. Hawkins has done it again. This novel is rich in characters, plot, details, and excitement. In addition to the realistic description of Zimbabwe and its national parks, there are accurate details of planes, piloting, medical conditions, and treatment. Without giving out any spoilers, there are many plot points that deal with government workings and corruption within and without. I recommend allowing time to read undisturbed as it is hard to tear oneself away from this rip roaring adventure.

M. Snowden, (5 out of 5 stars),  Jun 19, 2019

Thriller. . .

The sequel to ‘Shadows Along the Zambezi’, author Diana M. Hawkins has once more written a thrilling drama set in the dark underworld of the illicit trade in elephant ivory, where the corrupt and greedy will resort to any measure—including murder—to tap into the multi-million dollar pipeline.Environmentalist couple Piet and Jessica van Rooyen gamble with their lives as, with the help of a small band of like-minded and dedicated individuals, they fight to repatriate young captive elephant back to the wild. Unwittingly, they stumble onto the reaping and export of tusks for oriental consumption, implicating the very appointed custodians of Zimbabwe’s wildlife.

The large-scale indiscriminate poisoning of fauna at national game reserve waterholes sets the team off on a trail of ever-increasing threat, avarice and desperation by those responsible, in which human life is of little or no worth. The strength of personal relationships is put to the test as the players are torn between their passion for conservation and justice, and their loyalty to each other.The reader is skillfully drawn into a quick-fire chain of events based entirely on the reality that is, today, pushing the African elephant to the brink of extinction.

Gerry van Tonder, author, (4 out of 5 stars), Jun 08, 2019

Well written and gripping

An excellent read. Well written and gripping. Well thought out and detailed. Kudos. As one who lived through a lot of that time and those areas, I had to keep putting the book down to compose myself because of the emotions stirred by the telling of the story. Elephants are my favourite animal, and I weep for their demise because of mankind's greed which is ongoing. The authoress has dealt with the heartbreaking subject well, and I definitely and without hesitation recommend the reading.

Antionette,  (5 out of 5 stars), Apr 17, 2019

I could not put it down

I thoroughly enjoyed SHADOWS OVER AN AFRICAN HEART! It is so realistic and intriguing that I could not put it down. My sincere hope is that it will one day be made into a movie.

Debbie Hall, Goodreads (5 out of 5 stars), Apr 07, 2019

Top Rating

Ron Donnelly, Goodreads (5 out of 5 stars), Apr 06, 2019

A thought provoking book

The heartbreaking sequel to Shadows Along the Zambezi (which I haven't read yet). The book deals with the heart wrenching issue of elephant poaching and is set in the country of Zimbabwe though this is an issue that unfortunately affects all other African countries where wildlife was once prevalent. The story is fast paced and action packed. I could not put it down. A thought provoking book that makes one consider what efforts one can personally make to bring this epidemic to an end.

Cherop, Goodreads (5 out of 5 stars), Mar 12, 2019

Must-read sequel to Shadows Along the Zambezi

Amazon Customer,, (5 out of 5 stars), Feb 3, 2019

An eye opener that will stir even the most passive person.

This is a good read. If you are interested in reading the truth about elephants, poachers, and corruption this is the book to read. It is an eye opener that will stir even the most passive person. The author Diana Hawkins has done extensive research on the subject. She also weaves a love story with adventure, excitement and mystery which makes this book a page turner. I highly recommend this book.

Chris Kessler, (5 out of 5 stars),  Jan 28, 2019

Hawkins novel was an excellent, easy read

Hawkins novel was an excellent, easy read. I felt right at home with many of the characters that I had met in her previous book, "Shadows Along the Zambezi." I was quickly caught up in the plight of the elephants as well as the difficult task the wildlife park employees had, trying to save these wonderful creatures.

Suety, Barnes & Noble (5 out of 5 stars),  Jan 25, 2019

And what great shadows they are

Shadows over an African Heart is the perfect name for this book. The shadows are even bigger than I ever dreamt, and this book is a real eye-opener to the truth of what is going on. I was in tears in many places in this book. The fictional side story I so enjoyed, but the true and very sad story of the elephants and other animals; the Zimbabwe government has so much to answer for. The world needs to read both of Diana’s books and action needs to be taken before the children of today never see wildlife as we have had the joy to grow up with around us. There are many African words in the story which to me were great to be reminded of, but many are explained as you read and there is a good glossary of the words in the back of the book.

Amazon Customer, (5 out of 5 stars),  Jan 20, 2019

Graphic happenings... elephant hunters

Greed, poisoning, lack of authoritative control and destruction of native African wildlife highlight the brutality and murderous passions of ivory seekers in Zimbabwe. Based on factual events, the author gives graphic happenings of elephant hunters whose killings of both people and animals have infected the heart of life in this Southern African nation. Passions are aroused in the reading.

Woody McKay, Email to author,  Jan 11, 2019

A great story, and educational too!

Diana Hawkins has drawn on her considerable knowledge of Zimbabwe, its geography, its wildlife, its people and its dysfunctional government as she weaves a suspenseful tale. After a somewhat slow beginning due to unnecessary detail, the reader can expect to be rewarded with an excellent story of love and devotion to protection of endangered wildlife against heavy odds.

Russ England, (5 out of 5 stars), Dec 2, 2018

A chilling warning to the guardians of elephants across Africa

In 2015 Zimbabwe was stunned, shocked and horrified to hear that scores of elephants had been killed in one incident by ivory poachers. The facts behind how easily they did it, exposed in this book, are diabolical and provide a chilling warning to the guardians of elephant populations across Africa. Shadows Over an African Heart is a compelling book centered around the ring of poachers, the money men behind them and the courageous people trying to stop them. Corruption, greed and power combine to give a very real identity to the plague of ivory poaching in Zimbabwe. Characters created by the author, and the glimpses into their personal lives as well as their passion for Zimbabwe’s wildlife, are entirely credible. Shadows over an African Heart is a book in which you love the heroes and hate the villains with equal passion. The author displays an obvious love for, and understanding of, elephant herds and their very close knit family units. Shadows Over an African Heart instills new vigour into the urgent need for mankind to protect elephants at all costs, before they are gone forever.

Cathy Buckle, Zimbabwe author. Goodreads (5 out of 5 stars), Nov 5, 2018

Heart wrenching and captivating story

Another great novel by Diana Hawkins! I fell in love with the family of elephants in this story. These majestic creatures are absolutely endearing and the trials they must endure will bring you to tears. This book gets to the heart of their plight as it details the effects of the corrupt, black market ivory trade. The corruption goes all the way up to the highest levels of the Zimbabwe government. I have a new appreciation for the ZWPL and all animal rights activists who fight to save these elephants from a cruel and senseless death at the hands of greedy poachers. This novel, while a fictional story, is true to life and describes events that actually unfold in Zimbabwe. This novel was captivating. I laughed, I cried and thoroughly enjoyed reading it. This story brings awareness to a big problem in Zimbabwe and is in itself a service to the African elephant.

Amazon Customer, (5 out of 5 stars), Oct 21, 2018

Thrilling and educational

Shadows Over an African Heart is both thrilling and educational. Fictional events and people are based on real events and real people interwoven with political intrigue and ineptitude to provide a book that is hard to put down — you are always anxious to read what happens next. Murders, ruthless slaughter of animals, jailbreaks and even an airplane sabotage are cleverly mixed together with responsible black and white folks risking their lives to save each other from death. By looking at a map at one point I was able to imagine where all of this was taking place, and with the detailed account of the surrounding area, I felt that I had also seen a travelogue of that part of the world. Altogether, this is a fascinating book that I can strongly recommend.

Norman S. Currey. Goodreads (5 out of 5 stars), Oct 17, 2018

Shines a bright light onto recent betrayals

This heart hurting story could only be written by one who knows and loves the land, its people, its history, and especially its elephants. Diana Hawkins was perfectly destined for the task. She brings us into the lives of game ranger Hector Kaminjolo, his supporters Piet and Jessica, Dolly, and all the others so that we care what happens to them, sense their pain, and gasp over their harrowing experiences. I am grateful to Hawkins for shining a bright light onto recent dark betrayals of the people and magnificent animal resources of Zimbabwe. The plunder of that nation and other African countries by persons in the thrall of greed and avarice has not been stopped. Hollywood should do a heads up and turn “Shadows Over an African Heart” into an honest film that could ignite the world to save a continent.

Mary Alexander. Goodreads (5 out of 5 stars), Oct 17, 2018

Heart-breaking story of wild African elephants and the people who love and struggle to protect them

Shadows is a riveting and also educational read for those unfamiliar with wild elephants; poaching; aviation; African terrain, language, life, politics and more. Hawkins’s familiarity with Zimbabwe and Africa as a whole is obvious. The setting and story appeared very real. One gets the feeling that Hawkins was there as the elephant poaching story broke in 2013. It is easy for a reader to become as concerned about the wild elephants’ plight as Hawkins and the characters of her story are.

Sandra Henderson, (4 out of 5 stars), Sept 22nd, 2018

Fighting to Save the African Elephant

As of December 31st 2017, China shut down its government-licensed ivory carving factories in a joint pledge with the USA to ban ivory trading. Had this law been enforced a few years earlier, perhaps some of the appalling true events in this story would not have taken place. Elephants live in family groups led by a matriarch, and it is a known fact that they experience human emotions—love, jealousy, anger, sadness, and they mourn when a family member is lost. Set in Zimbabwe, Africa, this hard-hitting and uncompromising story, and sequel to “Shadows Along the Zambezi” tells of two people’s struggle to save the elephants they have come to know and love—not only from poachers, but also from people who would separate the herds living wild and free in the African bush, and send selected members to a life of misery in a cage at a zoo in a foreign country. Although the story is fictional, many of the deplorable and horrifying events depicted really did take place just a few years ago, and some continue to take place today. You will fall in love with the elephants, and be rooting for Piet and Jessica van Rooyen, and will not be able to put the book down until you get to the last page.

Trish Jackson, Author. (5 out of 5 stars), Aug 15th, 2018