Books: Tragic Trek

WILD CONQUEST (309 pp.)—Peter Abrahams—Harper ($3).

When hot-blooded, race-conscious Koos Jansen saw the African slaves coming back from a secret meeting on the mountainside, he boiled with the knowledge that the worst had happened: the news of their emancipation by the British had finally seeped through from Cape Town.

In 1835 the news was already a year old, but to the Jansen brothers and their slaves, isolated on a mountain-rimmed farm in the wilds of Cape Colony, it was still red-hot. After the embittered slaves had declared themselves free, there was only one course for the outnumbered Jansens to take; round up their...

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