Cecil Scott Forester is best known for his popular series featuring the clashing British naval officer Horatio Hornblower and his adventures in the Napoleonic wars. His bestloved book, The African Queen, however, features two most improbable defenders of the British Empire: Rose Sayer, a proper English spinster with a will of iron, and loner Charlie Allnutt, a shabby Cockney engineer. The novel was immortalized in the 1951 film starring Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart.
After the death of her missionary brother, Rose finds herself in German Central Africa in the midst of World War 1, with a growing hatred of the Germans. Serving as her makeshift ally is Charlie Allnutt. Allnutes desire to wait out the rest of the war in some marshy backwater proves no match for Rose's determination to strike a blow for England, and a plan takes shape. As they struggle with insects, malaria, the rapids of the Ulanga, and the ever-faulty equipment of the African Queen, Rose emerges from the subordinate role required by family and culture, and Charlie shakes his accustomed passivity. Their narrow escapes and tender romance will delight readers of every generation.
Forester is now remembered for his Horatio Hornblower sea adventures; his 1935 novel has been forgotten in lieu of the popular 1951 film by John Huston. However, those who want to experience the original without Hollywood's alternations--protagonist Charlie Allnutt is British--will have to read the novel. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.