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Black Mamba White Settler
Book 1 of the 'TOM OWEN' series
(Published 2010) 


During the Rhodesian ‘Bush War’ or Chimurenga a terrorist leader loses his leg when an ambush goes wrong and he swears to get his revenge on those responsible. 

Tom Owen leaves his home in Swaziland to join the Rhodesian Police. It is the time of the break-up of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland and he becomes involved in riots and hostility as the struggle for independence begins. Three years later he leaves the police force to return to a life of farming, and when a farmer is attacked and killed by terrorists, signalling the start of the long 'Bush War', he joins the Police Anti Terrorist Unit (PATU). Over the years, whilst on patrol in the bush with his 'stick' (unit), Tom crosses paths on a number of occasions with Mamba, a terrorist leader.
Year later, after independence, when everything has settled down and Tom is farming in what is now called Zimbabwe, he is caught up in the country's land reforms, and the struggle for survival starts all over again. The ex-guerilla Mamba comes back into their lives - but now the situation is reversed and the war-vet has the upper hand. He is a dangerous man and becomes 
a threat to the lives of Tom and his family.


Set in Africa during troubled times, this thilling tale tells of the horrors of war, times of peace and the bravery and terror experienced by farmers, their families and farm workers when their farms are invaded by aggressive government backed thugs.


(Read some of the reviews below)








Black Mamba White Settler. Utterly gripping! For anyone who lived through the Rhodesian Bush War and the Land Invasions in 2000 you will not be able to put this book down ….  And for anyone who didn’t experience it, you will understand it. This book is brilliantly written and Ken describes the sights, sounds and smells perfectly. The story told is exactly how it was - it’s about an exquisite country that was destroyed because of greed, bitterness and senselessness. Rhodesia died and the world did nothing to help her. Zimbabwe was born and she thrived for twenty years until that greed, jealousy and evil took over again. I live in the hope that Zimbabwe will recover … where there is life there is hope. Well done Ken. An exceptional story! Lerina Hotchkis Wilson. Perth. Australia. 

As a read - engaging, exciting, thrilling and a story that stimulates the full range of emotions - excellent!  Simon Ford. Surrey. UK 

I read Black Mamba White Settler written by Ken Tilbury and was transported into the period during the land grab invasions in  
Zimbabwe. I was riveted to this story because, despite its fictional content, the book is written with the Zimbabwe Land Invasions as its backdrop. The story is well factualised and the main characters are real in every respect. For anyone who has never experienced what happens during these invasions, this is an eye opener of note. Thank you Ken for bringing this story to us and I look forward to future publications by you.  Lee Catterson. 


Black Mamba White Settler.  I read this book. Its brilliant. One of those books you don’t want to put down and you never want it to end. I hope you are writing some more books.  John Freemantle. (john.freemantle1@ntlworld.com)

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It kept my interest all the way through and had a fitting end. John Ranger. Retired CEO Tate & Lyall, Simunye Sugar Estates, Swaziland.  UK Jan 2011

I declare this book a thoroughly good read...nostalgic, accurate, sad in the historically correct portrayals of the demise and descent into utter chaos of that fine country/set of countries....I weep! Thank you.   Graham Vass. GM. Ellenborough Park Hotel,
Cheltenham. UK. February 2011

Ken Tilbury’s book, ‘Black Mamba White Settler’ is a superbly executed piece of work. I found it thoroughly engrossing. He has used his own experiences as the basis for the book from a boyhood in Swaziland through various moves around the southern African sub-continent, dictated as much by an ambition to have his own farm as by the uncertainty of living through the Rhodesian ‘Bush War’ and worse, the repossessions of farm land in Zimbabwe after 1980, to finally having to realise that there was no future for an European in Zimbabwe. 
The passages relating to the ‘Bush War’ are particularly fascinating and will be surprising to many in that he demonstrates the high degree of cooperation that existed at the time between black and white Rhodesians, a fact that is often overlooked by most. As a glimpse into a very misunderstood period in history it is most enlightening. Doubtless there will be those who will be shocked at the levels of brutality Ken describes, but if anything, he has really only touched on just how bad things could be for supposed informers caught by the ‘freedom fighters.’ He hints at the accelerating polarisation of the two opposing societies that existed and gave rise to atrocities committed and to the legacy of brutality that has been left behind; a legacy that
Zimbabwe has to live with to this day. Without him saying anything to the effect, the book is also an indictment on the British Governments of the time between UDI and the birth of Zimbabwe for precipitating the transfer of power to the majority well before they were in a position to even understand what had been handed to them. I can thoroughly recommend this book to all who have an interest in Southern African history and politics and to all who simply enjoy well written novels that are exciting from beginning to end but are also based on true life experiences.  Bruce Brislin.(Author) UK 

This simple, easy, enjoyable story gives a good factual insight into Police Anti-terrorist operations. An overview of the conflict and battle of the terror war and the fearful struggle for survival in the aftermath of farm invasions and land seizures which has reduced
Zimbabwe to a 'basket case' with insets into the farming operations in the neighboring countries of Malawi and Swaziland. For anyone wanting to understand the history of the country this is a suitable introduction. It is intense and moves the emotions as the plot unfolds. Lovely descriptions of the flora and fauna and the African sunsets all add to the flavour and memories of Rhodesia/Zim. Altogether a good and well worth read.   Christopher Russell. Retired. 

This is such an insightful story that made me laugh, cry, smile and gasp! Definitely worth the read as it gives a good feeling into the struggle that so many people have had to endure in Zim. Chonell Roy. Account Manager - Pharmaceutical Publishing Company.UK  

Ken's knowledge of Rhodesian history is better than any written history book. His description of survival in the Rhodesian Bush War is of first hand knowledge, which evolved into 'can't be put down story' as it transports you back in time. The family life and romance makes it easier to overlook the horrors of the war. Quite clearly written from the heart, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it...Helen C Holliday. London.


Congratulations, Ken. I can't tell you how much we enjoyed your book. I finished it within three days. For me, the essence of a good book is one that you can't put down and I kept going back to yours whenever I had time to spare. It's a good read. Don Parry. Retired School Headmaster. Durban SA. 


I enjoyed your book very much. Your descriptions of the land, fauna and flora are exceptional and speak of real knowledge and love of nature. The story line was very good with good tension and association with the different characters and their personalities. I have read a number of books published by some renowned publishing houses which are not nearly as good as your book. 
Dr Konstant Bruinette. 
Johannesburg. SA  

I found it highly entertaining. A lot of bitter and frightening memories and a lot of memories of the beauty and magnetism of
Africa. Thank you for a lovely read - I so enjoyed it. You have a lovely style of making one feel absorbed and energized. Well done. Rose Bowen. London

Black Mamba, White Settler is an accurate account of life and times in
Rhodesia leading up to present day. Ken Tilbury outlines the hardships of both black and white people within the racial conflicts which have been encountered between them since the 1800's. His personal experiences in times of both war and peace give a more than fair appraisal of years gone by. Paradoxically these racial conflicts continue to this day, mainly in politics, business and land reform, whilst socially the majority of blacks and whites coexist well. The book depicts well the major sad issue, that of highly incompetent and corrupt governance since independence in 1980 which otherwise would have seen Zimbabwe as "the bread basket of Africa", which it once was destined to be.
Zimbabwe remains a beautiful country, with peace and harmony prevailing, the future is unsure.....but then African politics always is. “I’m Staying” - Shane Sparg.Harare. Zimbabwe 2011






 ISBN - 10: 1497355095
                   13: 978-1497355095

    302 pages





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