From Publishers Weekly
The Comoros are four small islands off the coast of Mozambique, three of which declared their independence from France in 1975. British writer David Lamb christened this little-known nation "Cloud Coup-Coup Land," no misnomer since the government suffered four coups between 1975 and 1992. It was the third of these, in which President Ahmed Abdallah Abderemane was murdered in 1989, that piqued the interest of British freelance journalist Weinberg. Of particular fascination to her was French mercenary Bob Denard, a major player in the Comorian security and military forces, who, since 1960, had served as a soldier of fortune throughout Africa before settling in the Comoros, where he overthrew two presidents within three years, then vanished. Weinberg treats Abderemane's assassination as a whodunit, not an entirely satisfactory approach, since all the witnesses were killed and even Denard's enemies didn't see him as the triggerman. Nonetheless this is an absorbing and well-told tale. Photos.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Weinberg, a young British journalist with ties to South Africa, is intrigued with African politics. When she heard about French mercenary Bob Denard and his exploits on the tiny Comoros Islands, she vowed to travel there and track down the truth about his role in the overthrow of one president and the death of another. The Coromos, known for their ylang-ylang flowers, which are used in French perfumes, and for Mount Karthala, the world's largest active volcano, are home for approximately 480,000 Muslims of Arabic, Malayo-Polynesian, and African descent. Weinberg provides a thumbnail sketch of the islands' lively history as a center for maritime trade, magnet for pirates, and scene of European power struggles, a tradition that continued into the 1970s and 1980s. That's where Denard comes in. A mercenary who survived some very messy missions in Africa, Denard ended up in the Coromos, where his role in the assassination of President Abdallah is still debated. Weinberg is a bit of a novice, but she certainly knows how to tell a good story and sheds some light on the clandestine world of one slick soldier of fortune. Donna Seaman