An epic sweeping family drama of the South African veldt; I kept thinking what a great movie this could be, similar in style and focus as Australia – featuring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman – back in 2008.
Sand takes place about one hundred and fifty years ago when in defiance to the church and their family three young people flee from their Dutch heritage to escape and build a live in the Transvaal, the plains of South Africa. Bartering with Kora, the last tribal chief of the Korana clans, Claes and his best friend Baptiste take enough land to farm and build a small ranch house on while waiting for Catherine to arrive on the next ship. They are some of the first migrants from Holland that helped establish a strong Dutch hold in South Africa.
By the time the book ends Catherine has had a half-dozen children, Baptiste is dead and several out of wedlock children from both men inhabit the tribes and her home. She had taken her husband’s best friend as her lover and both their Baster children as her own. Life is a lot different than the staunch upbringing they had back in Europe. They raise ostriches, horses, run a diamond mind and face many dangerous excursions’ with local tribesmen over poaching and water.
The river banks that have provided shelter and resources for their agriculture over the generations now become the last stand as the natives rise up against the whites and the British Colonial troops get involved in the melee. Will the family survive and if so at what cost?
Sadler – no relative, we share happen to share a family name – has presented us with a factually historic view of the settling of South Africa by Europeans and a peek into the little known Korana tribe who had their last-stand in 1879, so vividly displayed and woven into a fantastic tale in this gem of a novel.