Harry Summerfield and Jim Wilding first meet by accident in Gibraltar in 1938, neither realising that this chance encounter will shape their lives to an extraordinary extent. The friendship takes them to Morocco, where Harry is given a curious task by a mysterious local man known only as Abrach – he is to write love letters to Jeanne, the young daughter of the French Administrator. During the course of his task he falls in love with Jeanne himself, and it becomes imperative to Abrach’s plans that Jim is removed from the picture. Matters are even further complicated by the love affair and engagement that ensues between Jeanne and Jim.
So begins a harrowing tale of betrayal, kidnapping, murder and love, set against the backdrop of the fall of France to Germany and the subsequent chaos that breaks out in Morocco. With action that begins in the labyrinthine passages of Marrakech and continues into the isolated foothills of the Atlas Mountains, danger dogs the steps of Harry all the way, but he remains constant throughout in his independence of spirit and his loyalty to his greatest friends.
Amazir is a beautifully evocative novel, full of the colours, smells, and atmosphere of Morocco. It is a story with love at its heart – love that changes, shifts, ebbs and flows, but that is all the more real for that. The love of a man for a woman, for a country, for a dear friend, for life itself. It is also story of revenge and how that revenge can corrupt a true heart, making the victim into the aggressor and destroying him in the process.
Tom Gamble has written a brilliant first novel – the first of many, one hopes.