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Ray Kane was born in Ireland. He was in the South African Police when Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island in 1964.
In 1965, while hitchhiking through Tanzania en route to England, he crossed the path along which Che Guevara would lead his Cuban Brigade just three days later into the Congo and his first revolutionary defeat.
Kane’s first novel, The Sowti Squad, was born of these two events.
Suspected of being a mercenary while hitchhiking through Juba, the Sudanese government arrested and deported Kane to Uganda. Hoping to continue his homeward journey by ship, Kane travelled through Uganda to Mombasa, Kenya’s port on its Indian Ocean coastline. Fortune smiled on Kane. The Braemar Castle, en route from Cape Town to London, was in port and had just medevaced a broken-legged crewman back to Durban. There was a vacancy. Kane became Seaman Kane and worked as a steward on the luxury liner to Tilbury (London) docks.
Commissioned into the British Army in 1965, Ray Kane served in Germany and Libya. In 1968 he joined the Omani Army. Commissioned as a Captain, he was promoted Major after a year and served for a further two years as Red Company Commander, Desert Regiment, in the Dhofar War. He led the Red Company palace assault group which seized Sultan Said bin Taimur al-Busaidi on 23 July 1970, in the coup d'état which started Oman's renaissance, and in which Kane was wounded.
Leaving Red Company in 1972, Kane commanded Firqa Forces – Dhofari irregular tribesmen. He was "sacked on-the-spot", and quite rightly too, in Kane's opinion, by Colonel Mike "Oddjob" Harvey in May 1972, after playfully shooting-up the RAF Salalah (Dhofar) Officers' Mess and its open-air cinema.
Asked by a friend if he had been drunk, mad or both, Kane replied, 'Neither, I did it for the Craic.’
Ray Kane founded his security company, Trawl Services Ltd in, in 1982. He is divorced and has a son and four daughters.
on March 21, 2011 :
A fast paced adventure tale, set in the African bush. The characters are colourful, the story exciting and daring. Thoroughly enjoyable reading!
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on Jan. 05, 2011 :
In the 1960s, Che Guevara was in the Congo, fomenting revolution; further south, Nelson Mandela was serving a life sentence on Robben Island. The CIA’s attempt to kill one and the South African’s to abduct the other forms the plot of this action adventure novel – The Sowti Squad.
Combining brisk pace with detailed and graphic descriptions of savage mercenary warfare, the narrator’s insertion of vignettes of actual history makes the whole novel utterly believable, as do the characters and dialogue. We are taken on a journey spanning America, Cuba, Congo and South Africa as the plot moves from conception through hatching to birth.
Unusually in an action thriller, some female characters are as hard and nasty (one is even nastier) as the men, a trait much appreciated by two girl friends of mine who'd read the print version, and who reckon it'll make fascinating reading for women readers.
There is, of course, a completely unexpected ending, as the Sowti Squad, whom the reader by now will want to survive, fight for their lives.
(reviewed long after purchase)