The Rand Conspiracy

Fiction - Thriller - Conspiracy
307 Pages
Reviewed on 10/22/2021
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

I've loved history and historical fiction all my life and writing my first novel felt like a natural progression as much as an ambition. The Rand Conspiracy is the first of a series of thrillers set during the late Victorian era against the backdrop of diplomatic flashpoints. Peter Leroux, a young man raised in the Transvaal, becomes a spy in the service of the British Empire and is sent to the hotspots of international intrigue. In the room when it happens, somehow, he must save the day. I, on the other hand, live with my family and dog and computer in Putney, London. When lost, I can usually be found walking on the common or messing about in boats on the river.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Susan Sewell for Readers' Favorite

An enterprising journalist stumbles onto a plot involving multiple countries that threaten to catapult South Africa into war in the stunning historical novel The Rand Conspiracy by Richard Westover. After a ten-year absence, journalist Peter Leroux returns to his childhood home of Johannesburg when his father dies in a mining accident. While working for Cecil Rhodes, Leroux discovers discrepancies in his father's estate that don't add up and realizes his father's death was murder. An unknown and unheard of newcomer to Johannesburg claims the Leroux mine assets and holdings as payment for an alleged debt Leroux is sure is fictitious. Determined to avenge his father's death, Leroux hunts for the thieving stranger and unexpectedly uncovers smuggled guns and stolen gold. Several factions are struggling to gain control of the South African Republic. Their machinations are causing a rumbling beneath the placid surface of Johannesburg. Has Leroux uncovered a conspiracy that will erupt into war? Can he stop it before it ignites?

Based on historical events, The Rand Conspiracy by Richard Westover is a stunning work of fiction suffused with conspiracies and treachery. A web of intrigue threads throughout the storyline, realistically depicting the struggle between Germany and Britain and their desire to control Southern Africa and its gold mines. The intense and dramatic story has an intricately woven plotline steeped in suspense, subterfuge, conspiracies, and deception. The characters are fascinating and include significant historical figures such as Cape Colony Prime Minister Cecil Rhodes and President Paul Kruger. The stunning imagery of the backdrops perfectly creates an authentic portrayal of the era. It is a brilliant novel filled with action and adventure that will thrill those who love exciting stories containing espionage, intrigue, and courageous heroes. Superbly executed!

Lucinda E Clarke

Set in 1895 in and around Johannesburg, The Rand Conspiracy by Richard Westover tells the story of what possibly caused the failure of the Jameson Raid. Peter Leroux, the principal character, is tasked with keeping Cecil John Rhodes, residing at Groote Schuur in the Cape, informed of events in the gold mining areas miles to the north. The goldfields on the Reef is a boiling mass of mine owners, the Randlords, and those Boers under the government of Paul Kruger. Only Kruger stands in the way of Rhodes’s dream of a Cape to Cairo railroad securing the majority of Africa for the British Empire. Throw into the mix German and possibly American meddling in affairs, both eager to upset the balance of power and light the fuse which will erupt into another Boer War.

The Rand Conspiracy is an exciting story, partly fictionalized but also incorporating many known historical facts. Author Richard Westover gives a plausible narration of events. The book is fast-moving, easy to read, and very entertaining. While Leroux is anxious to discover who murdered his father and then illegally acquired his goldmine, he encounters more danger than he could have imagined, even in those wild times. As I turned the pages, I suspected one group after another, and I was puzzled about who was spying for whom. All is revealed in the end. I highly recommend The Rand Conspiracy as a rollicking tale for those who enjoy historical novels and also for those who like a good tale of adventure and intrigue.

Pikasho Deka

The Rand Conspiracy by Richard Westover is a historical fiction novel set at the end of the 19th century in South Africa, where multiple world powers were heavily invested due to the rich gold and diamond mines. Peter Leroux finds himself summoned by the Cape Colony Prime Minister Cecil Rhodes, who seeks his help in ousting the President of the South African Republic, Paul Kruger. Grieving the loss of his father, Leroux sets off to Johannesburg to investigate his death and carry out Rhodes' orders simultaneously. However, he suspects foul play when an Irish Nationalist group takes over his father's mine with links to a German agent working toward brewing war against the British empire. As Leroux works to uncover the conspiracy, he must be wary as things may not be as they appear.

Filled with suspense, action, and political intrigue, The Rand Conspiracy is an enthralling mix of historical fiction and nail-biting thriller. Author Richard Westover deftly incorporates actual historical events and personages into an intricate plot that keeps you hooked with its twists and turns. The narrative is well-paced, and the large cast of characters and varying factions seamlessly blend into the story. Leroux is a relatable protagonist, and you find yourself rooting for him almost instantly. The characters of Cecil Rhodes and Paul Kruger are well-portrayed as the author gives them personalities that suit their descriptions in real life. The twist toward the climax surprised me, and I can honestly say that I didn't see it coming. Anyone interested in historical fiction should give The Rand Conspiracy a shot.

Nicholus Schroeder

The Rand Conspiracy by Richard Westover is historical fiction. The story is set in the South African Republic (modern-day South Africa) in 1895. The major powers each have a colony or protectorate under them in the African continent. However, surrounding lands have very little value compared to the vast amounts of gold in the South African Republic. The Boers currently have control over the Republic and the Witwatersrand (the location of gold deposits) through President Paul Kruger. The major powers want to take the South African Republic for themselves, and the British, in particular, are already plotting. Cecil Rhodes, the Prime Minister, wants to abolish the Kruger government and has set his plans in motion. The last hurdle in his way of ridding the people of Kruger is whether the Germans are siding with Kruger. To determine if such an alliance exists, he tasks Peter Leroux, a journalist, with uncovering Germany’s involvement in the war to come. Leroux accepts the dangerous assignment, as he hopes to solve the mystery behind his father’s death. What secrets will Leroux shed light on? Will he be able to bear the consequences of his findings?

The Rand Conspiracy was packed to the brim with incredible plot twists, shootouts, and some thrilling espionage scenes. The plot was also very enjoyable and interesting. It kept me hooked for its entire duration. The pacing was also really great and akin to what you’d come across when reading a book of the thriller genre. Each character is incredibly well-written, especially the support characters, as they each were authentic South Africans. Richard Westover did a fantastic job of capturing the essence of being South African in his characters. Zulu men, for example, are confident, cheerful, and humorous. If he isn’t a fellow South African, then he outdid himself. To ease the tension, there are a lot of hilarious jokes and situations spread out evenly in the book as well, and I loved each one. All in all, I enjoyed my time with this book, and I’m thrilled that a sequel is slated for 2022. Readers who love historical fiction or thrillers will be sure to instantly like The Rand Conspiracy.

Anne-Marie Reynolds

The Rand Conspiracy by Richard Westover is a stunning historical conspiracy thriller. It’s 1895. The British Empire is at its peak but not everyone around them is happy. Cecil Rhodes is the Prime Minister of the Cape Colony and he is working on plans to seize half the world’s gold deposits by annexing the Boer South African Republic. Learning that his father’s death was not the accident he was led to believe, Peter Leroux starts to investigate and finds himself drawn into the coup. He knows too much and becomes the target of a failed attack. Getting nowhere with his investigations, he digs deeper, knowing he has to stop his father’s killers before Rhodes loses power in the Transvaal. No one is innocent and no one really knows why the Jameson Raid ended in a humiliating failure. All Leroux knows is, he has to stop the world from going to war and he needs the truth about his father’s death.

The Rand Conspiracy by Richard Westover is a taut historical thriller, full of action and suspense with political intrigue thrown into the mix. The author has clearly done his research as real historical events are wound through a plot that keeps you guessing all the way. With lots of twists and turns, and some excellent characters, developed in a way that makes you believe in them as real people, the ending will surprise you and I guarantee you won't see it coming – the biggest twist of the book. The plot is well-thought-out and fast-paced with a few violent scenes thrown in but not outside of the story’s realms. A thoroughly exciting novel, ideal for those who like political and historical thrillers.