Wings of Gold


Wings of Gold was first published by Pan Macmillan in 1990.

Set in South Africa during the 1860s, the story takes place against the backdrop of the flourishing ostrich feather industry of those years. It follows the fortunes of a lowly immigrant, James Quenton, who becomes obsessed with the wealth these birds can create. Wings of Gold follows the industry – and the fate of James – through to the Anglo Boer War in the early 1900s.

It is now available as a Kindle publication. (Read reviews)

Download the first 7 chapters.

In a world where the word of a gentleman is inviolate when placed against that of a mere peasant lad, James Quenton, son of an impoverished farmer, finds himself faced with the near certainty of the gallows. That he has killed in self-defence is immaterial. He must flee England and, in 1865, embarks on the long voyage to South Africa and the Cape of Good Hope. Here he finds work that makes his previous life seem easy in comparison: the back-breaking, soul-destroying grind of road building.

But James is fired with ambition, and in this new land of opportunity sees salvation in an unlikely source – the systematic harvesting of the ostrich for its feathers, which are literally worth their weight in gold.

So begins his rise to fabulous fortune and a position of great influence, aided by his employer Sir Anthony Kenrick, whose beautiful daughter he soon marries in the face of family opposition. But with success comes the gradual erosion of his principles and idealism.

Increasingly crazed with drink, James is unaware that a deadly enemy he had thought outwitted is allowing old grievances to fester. Grievances that will explode in an orgy of violence. For Gert Denker, foreman of his old road gang, is the last man on God’s earth anyone should cross.

But this is merely the prelude to the compelling drama that is about to unfold. A drama that will drive James to the brink of madness –  and beyond.

Wings of Gold charts the growth of a magnificent obsession from seed to maturity and the destruction of its creator.

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Wings of Gold


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