Reviewed by Molly Martin
Cry of The Fish Eagle
by Peter Rimmer
Paperback: 386 pages, ISBN-13: 978-1497412576, March 2014
Peter Rimmer’s Cry of the Fish Eagle begins in 1943 with Flying Officer, pilot, Rupert Pengelly shouting “For God’s sake, JUMP!” The book is divided into 4 sections, books 1, 2, 3, and 4. Book one covers the years 1943 -1946. It is a time filled with war, realization that the family home in Cornwall is mortgaged to the hilt, and loss of friends. The loss of Rigby Savage and a promise made to him by Rupert will follow Rupert for the rest of his life. Book 2 begins in 1952 with Sasa Savage just 17 when Rupert moves onto his farm in Southern Rhodesia. Rupert, aged 28, wanted to make good on a promise made to Rigby concerning his daughter Sasa. However, finding her was proving more difficult than he had anticipated. Book 3 opens in 1964, introduces the reader to Piccadilly Brown among others, continues discussion of war in various theaters, and continues Rupert’s life, dreams and hopes. Book 4 covers the span of 1972 -1979; guerilla activity, terrorists wreak havoc, and Rupert’s promise to Rigby had been fulfilled. Life had been difficult, but worth it.
I enjoyed this book. The author’s character development is admirable, dialog is realistic, and believable, the well-drawn story line is compelling, draws the reader into the work, and maintains a hold from opening lines to last paragraph. An excellent read for those interested in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe and the transitions time has wrought. A somewhat melancholy, sad story, the tale nevertheless manages to present the pathos of the time without becoming maudlin. The history is something to be remembered and not swept away too quickly.
Cry of the Fish Eagle presents a saga filled with the lives of numerous related families during the declining days of Rhodesia. At 324 pages, the work begins with a few characters, builds in scope and depth as the chronicle continues. The tale develops as Rupert Pengelly, WW2 war pilot first tries to fulfill a promise to a friend who did not live through the war, and then Rupert’s return to Cornwall where he plans to live in on the family estate is thwarted through chicanery. Rather than mope over his reversal of fortune, Pengelly moves forward to forge a life for himself, and does so with grace and aplomb. A brief glossary with terms perhaps unknown to those living outside Zimbabwe is included.