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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enthralling collection of tales
"Angel in a Thorn Bush" is a fascinating story of a remarkable man who has lived life to the full; experiencing endeavor, adventure, love, disappointment and sadness in challenging and exciting times. The tales are humorous, poignant (sometimes tragic) and always interesting. Rob is modestly self-deprecating, honestly revealing his mistakes as well as his triumphs...
Published on 21 Feb. 2013 by Ian McGill

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good story but needs better editing
Great to learn about what you've been up to in the last 40 years or so Rob and what an adventure it's been. A bit of tightening up of some of the use of english (who's / whose!) and grammatical flow would have made it a more immersive experience.
Published on 26 Jan. 2013 by Geoffrey Cluett


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enthralling collection of tales, 21 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: Angel in a Thorn Bush (Paperback)
"Angel in a Thorn Bush" is a fascinating story of a remarkable man who has lived life to the full; experiencing endeavor, adventure, love, disappointment and sadness in challenging and exciting times. The tales are humorous, poignant (sometimes tragic) and always interesting. Rob is modestly self-deprecating, honestly revealing his mistakes as well as his triumphs. Towards the end of his book he shares his thoughts, including his fears, in a very personal way. I found that much of the book epitomizes the words (taken from Theodore Roosevelt's speech in 1910 at the Sorbonne) "The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena . . .who strives valiantly . . . who knows great enthusiasms . . . who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails at least fails while daring greatly." Buy the book - you'll be enthralled.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Story telling come true!, 23 Jan. 2013
This review is from: Angel in a Thorn Bush (Paperback)
This is a down to earth account of a life full of adventure, romance and laughter, with a great sensitivity to nature. It keeps you on the edge of your seat - sometimes crying, sometimes laughing out loud. Always enthralled by the vivid descriptions rolling out on the pages. I love the "story telling" way the chapters roll one onto the next, giving us that typical traditional african style. It also gives a great history of Zimbabwe and its people, reminding us of how it all once was. The story literally becomes a painting in our minds. A must for all those whom love and appreciate Africa, its nature and those deep stories in life we all deal with but sometimes find hard to put into words!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A humorous journey scraping through a life of African adventure by a conscious and charismatic soul, 24 Jan. 2013
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Rob tells the story of life in Africa from his ancestors befriended by Shaka through the many trials and opportunities that gave him the spirit to enjoy the core values of the continent and, against impossible odds, to achieve his dreams of adventure with wildlife and tourism on the Zambezi through the years of the bush war to the present. From his childhood in the warmth of his family and charismatic father, a heroic Colonel in the Commandos, through his own marriage he draws his readers with disarming honesty along a spiritual journey. His travels and adventures across the seas as an officer in the Royal Navy, overland through Africa off the beaten track and his many mishap-ridden flights in Tigermoths and spotter planes keep us spellbound as he is confronted by the authority of Admirals and Air Vice Marshals and goes on to narrow escapes with his life from the wrath of elephants, lions, crocodiles, guerillas and war vets. To follow in the beguiling trail of Rob's restless story is a wild adventure in itself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Angel in a Thorn Bush, 10 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Angel in a Thorn Bush (Paperback)
Many books have been written about the dying of Rhodesia: the prolific Wilbur Smith and his collection of formulaic historical fiction being far and away the best known. In more recent years Peter Godwin has enjoyed some success with Mukiwa: A White Boy in Africa (also historical fiction?) while Martin Meredith Mugabe: Power, Plunder, and the Struggle for Zimbabwe's Future has written insightfully on the political and socio-economic shambles created under the leadership of Robert Mugabe and ZANU-PF. On the military aspects of the struggle what seems to be a completely new genre, the "Southern", has appeared: these "Southerns" are the Southern African version of the American Western and seem to have a mainly South African readership with some following also among some American neo-cons and a militaristic "Soldier of Fortune"-type readership.

However, if you had to read only two books on Rhodesia I would humbly suggest you read Hold My Hand I'm Dying by John Gordon Davis and Angel in a Thorn Bush by Rob Fynn. Hold My Hand I'm Dying was written just as the great Kariba Dam was completed and Angel in a Thorn Bush brings the story of Lake Kariba and the unfolding tragedy of Rhodesia/Zimbabwe right up to the present day.

Rob Fynn, along with a beautiful young wife and family created a wonderful safari camp out of nothing on the shores of Lake Kariba in the darkest days of the war there. This was at a time when the only access by road to the Zambezi Valley was by armed convoys and when two civilian Air Rhodesia Viscounts were shot down leaving Kariba. The small Kariba Airport itself was also attacked and civilians were killed on the road through the National Park leading to Kariba.

Angels in a Thorn Bush describes three decades of constant struggle: how the ever-optimistic and resourceful Rob Fynn overcomes the beautiful but harsh natural environment, the corrupt political mis-management and the bureaucracy to create one of the finest holiday destinations in the world.

In the end he loses everything - his business, his livelihood, his wife. Saddest of all, having lost everything he optimistically tries to set up another Safari Camp on the Zambian side of the lake on Chete Island but comes up against the corruption, official incompetence, indolence and begrudgery all so common even now all over the wonderful resources-rich continent of Africa.

Towards the end Rob Fynn finds himself in his late 50's all alone and unemployed in New Zealand presenting himself as a jobbing labourer to whoever will offer him a day's work.

Rob Fynn has lived a life Wilbur Smith could only dream of. He was a thoroughly decent, hard-working man who just loved and lived for his wife, his family and his country, Zimbabwe. The pity is that he probably loved his country too well: "Living he was the land..... His soul shall be her soul"

We, but more the pity, Zimbabwe, will not see his like again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fellow Author, 13 Mar. 2013
By 
Greer Noble (Africa (London based)) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Angel in a Thorn Bush (Paperback)
Angel in a Thorn Bush is a superbly documented story of "life-changing" experiences in often hostile territories and at the mercy of nature's severest elements. The adventures, explorations and struggles of this spirited and courageous young man have been superbly documented (as are the remarkable 'arrival in Africa' of his ancestors before him), with extraordinary attention to detail. From flying an antiquated Tiger Moth in stormy weather, over England's cloud covered counties, without instruments; across moody, mountainous seas aboard an old Icelandic fishing trawler; to the blinding icy glare of Iceland's forbidding climate and employment laws; to the diverse intensity of the parched Sahara desert and arid, Ethiopian plains, mesmerised by hazy illusions rippling across the cracked escarpments; to his unbelievably incredible wildlife encounters, mainly in the then Rhodesia, the country of his birth. Not even the author's stint in the Royal Navy could have prepared him for the incredible hardships of this epic journey. Yet he and his brother bravely forged their way through obstacle after obstacle and over the most precipitous of Africa's terrain where no man had ventured before them.
Whether you're thinking of making such a trip or, as in most cases, never being able to undertake such a monumental expedition (more particularly now, in the light of the present day war-torn areas in question), these memoirs are a must read. Told with the same determination, enthusiasm and sensitivity as portrayed in the exploration itself, it's first-hand knowledge base alone carries invaluable weight.. the interjections of wit and humour peculiar to the Rhodesia of old, so infectious, it causes one to laugh out loud! I can strongly recommend this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Story laced with wit and humor, February 20, 2013 By Diana M. Hawkins "wordwonder", 7 Mar. 2013
This review is from: Angel in a Thorn Bush (Paperback)
This review is from: Angel in a Thorn Bush (Paperback)
Rob Fynn's account of his life is laced with both wit and humor, while being honest to the point of self-deprecation. I heartily recommend this book. The story of his first 67 years is chock-a-block full of adventure, excitement, drama, terror, frustration, and grief.

He grew up on a small farm near Salisbury, Rhodesia (now Harare, Zimbabwe), received a boarding school education, and later completed a stint as a midshipman in the Royal Navy. Since childhood, he had dreamed of becoming a game ranger, living a life in the African bush. His dream neared fruition several times, only to be derailed by the Zimbabwe government's rapidly shifting priorities and the country's eventual fiscal collapse.

He tells of his struggles through tumultuous times to keep the dream afloat, and how, despite all best intentions, bad decisions seriously impact his life. I found his wildlife encounters thrilling, especially with the elephants. His sensitive account of the shooting of a herd's matriarch and auntie brought tears to my eyes.

Review written by Diana M. Hawkins, author of Shadows along the Zambezi and
Lumpy the Elelphant
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A compelling read, 16 Jan. 2013
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This is a painfully frank account of the highs and lows experienced by a man who was determined to build and run a successful safari business in Zimbabwe despite the troubles there. Untainted by an Editor's red pencil, it has the intimacy of a hurried e-mail to a close friend. Written without inhibition, it reveals the hopes and fears, doubts and regrets as each challenge is overcome but unfortunately ever greater challenges are never far away. This should be read by all those who regret that they haven't lived more adventurous lives.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good story but needs better editing, 26 Jan. 2013
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Great to learn about what you've been up to in the last 40 years or so Rob and what an adventure it's been. A bit of tightening up of some of the use of english (who's / whose!) and grammatical flow would have made it a more immersive experience.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Angel in a Thornbush review, 11 Jun. 2013
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Rob Fynn's book is an amazing story of his life, along with his family story in Central Africa. His personality shines through his narrative with great enthusiasm and love for his country. He tells of extraordinary events in his unusual life with disarming humility. I stayed at Fothergill Island with my family in 1984 and can vouch for the experiences as totally true to life there. I am moved by the gentle focus on his faith which is clearly very important to him. I salute you Rob for writing this book for others to enjoy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real life Wibur Smith hero., 23 Jun. 2013
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Angel in a Thornbush is an astonishingly frank auto biography of a remarkable man who has spent a life of raw adventure following his heart to take on daunting physical and emotional challenges, which have brought rewards and heart ache in almost equal measure. A love of Africa and its wild life emerges on nearly every page and the book provides both a fascinating insight and an historical perspective of this troubled continent. An inspirational page turner.
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Angel in a Thorn Bush
Angel in a Thorn Bush by Rob Fynn (Paperback - 6 Dec. 2012)
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