Fleeing persecution in Poland, a young Jewish family settled in England where two brothers begin work in a cigarette factory. Enduring poverty and scant support from their father after their mother dies, the brothers decide to take matters into their own hands and set sail for Africa.
It was 1891 when Morris and David, both young teenagers, arrived in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. With neither family nor friends they decide to try their hand in the cigarette business, the only thing they knew. They befriend Nguni, a large and well-muscled man of the Xhosa tribe, who leads them into the African bush to find a tobacco farming community and to offer protection from the dangers of wild animals that they never even knew existed.
With the solid grounding their parents instilled in their upbringing, the boys learn to adapt and accept Africa’s ways, her people and her cultures.
Taking on a life filled with danger, mystery and strange customs is one thing, but can they take on an international corporation and survive?
This book based on a true story.
The first book in the ‘Langbourne’ series. Set in 1891 it tells the story of two young Irish brothers who set sail for Africa to seek a better life. Based on a true story and actual events.
Map Featured in 'Langbourne'
The Grand Hotel
The Grand Hotel features heavily in ‘Langbourne’. It began as a simple house in 1867 and sometime around 1885, after some extensions including over 20 rooms, it became known as ‘The Grand Hotel’.
The decor of the hotel was plush, opulent and extravagant, especially for the late 1800’s. A notable feature of the interior of the hotel were the mounted animal heads that were displayed prominently on the walls of the Reception and Dining Room.
As it was obviously a very elegant and exclusive establishment, men and women were required to be suitably dressed at all times.
The owner of The Grand Hotel at the time the brothers were there was a Mr. Walter Bunton. After he passed away his wife took the hotel over and owned it until 1921. In the story I have introduce a character called Mrs. Bunting as the Food and Beverage Manager. Obviously this character is not intended to be the original Mrs. Bunton, but I chose a similar name attempting to keep within the character of this exotic and historic hotel. The Bunton family do not feature in the book.
Although it looks nothing like it did in 1891 when the Langbourne brothers entered its front door, The Grand Hotel still exists to this day.
Photos by kind permission of The Grand Hotel, Port Elizabeth.
Visiting The Grand Hotel (2015)
In March 2015 I was visiting South Africa doing more research for ‘Rebellion’ and took a drive to Port Elizabeth to have a look at The Grand Hotel in person and met with the current owner, Mark Stemmett.
The hotel has changed quite radically since it’s glorious days in the late 1800s, but Mark is making great progress to restore it to it’s former glory. The bedrooms are fantastic, still in the style of its former days. Some rooms have en suites, and others use a communal bathroom down the hall.
The street sign, Whites Road and Belmont Terrace, as depicted in the story with David, is exactly as I imagined it to be, and oddly enough, it was seeing the street sign that had so much meaning for me.
The dining room, where the Langbourne brothers conducted their evening business from, still exists today. I had no idea which table they would have sat at, but chose one for the fun of it. We will never really know.
I wish Mark much success in restoring this amazing hotel back to its original glory!
Acknowlegements for 'Langbourne'
I would like to thank Scarlett Rugers in Melbourne for designing the cover for ‘Langbourne’ and her constant reassurances as the process of publishing this book progressed. My thanks also to Jason Anderson of Palgarus Studio for formatting the ebook version. A special thanks to Cindy Kramer (Cape Town) for all her hard work of editing and correcting the thousands of mistakes I made, always so encouraging and always there for me. My sincere thanks to Sandra Anderson for her much needed feedback, and I thank my life-long friend, Martin Robinson, who cast his eye over this book several times, and for his inspiration and support when I needed honest advice.
In the research of this book I give thanks to John S Landau (USA) David Landau (UK) Steve Landau (USA) and Alan and Jenny Paul (UK) Nancy Wiseman (USA) Bill Rich (USA) Richard Landau (South Africa) Felicity Lowinger (Canada) and Carol and Johnny Dardagan (Zimbabwe) for the information, photos and stories of the Langbourne brothers.
A very special thanks to a most remarkable woman, Pam Sussman Landau (Canada), who as a young girl personally knew the Langbourne brothers. Her fascinating memories of the family enabled me to record this story that surely would have been lost in the confusion of history forever. My gratitude to my good friend Phil Ineson for his technical guidance on the weapons used in the story.
My thanks to my son and daughter, John and Cherie, for their wonderful support and patience as I incessantly babbled about the book over countless coffees dates. And a special thanks to my partner, Sharon De Bruyn, for her constant encouragement, support and enthusiasm that kept me going to the final full stop and beyond.