The year is 1988.
For 40 years the world has been in the grip of the Cold War, and South Africa has been in the grip of apartheid. For 71 years Russia has been under Bolshevik tyranny. Though few suspect it, this is about to change for ever.
On a farm in the picturesque southern Drakensberg of South Africa a woman dies, and a young lawyer, Richard Rutherford, and his friend Denis Walters combine business with a pleasure weekend in the mountains. They will visit the farm to take the first steps in settling the estate. They soon discover that others also have an interest in the estate, or at least some items in it, and that they are prepared to kill for them.
The contentious items seem to be some old Russian ikons, but how they got to a remote farm and why others are so anxious to get hold of them is a mystery. The search for answers leads them to a strange hermit and an even stranger priest, and a drive of a thousand miles in search of King Lobengula’s legendary treasure.
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Stephen Hayes was born in Durban, South Africa in 1941. He went to St Stithians College in Johannesburg, and studied at the University of Natal in Pietermaritzburg, the University of Durham in England, and finally at the University of South Africa in Pretoria where he got a doctorate in Theology (Missiology).
He has worked at a variety of jobs, including bus conductor, bus driver (in Johannesburg and London), chaplain at the Missions to Seamen, waterworks attendant and newspaper proofreader and stringer (Windhoek, Namibia), Anglican priest and teacher, editor of academic texts and university lecturer (missiology, Unisa).
He is now retired, but serves as a deacon in the Orthodox Church in Gauteng, South Africa. He is married to Val and they have three grown-up children.