The Wonga Coup by Adam Roberts
Guns, Thugs and a Ruthless Determination to Create Mayhem in an Oil-Rich Corner of Africa

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Synopsis

Equatorial Guinea is a tiny country roughly the size of the state of Maryland. Humid, jungle covered, and rife with unpleasant diseases, natives call it Devil Island. Its president in 2004, Obiang Nguema, had been accused of cannibalism, belief in witchcraft, mass murder, billiondollar corruption, and general rule by terror. With so little to recommend it, why in March 2004 was Equatorial Guinea the target of a group of salty British, South African and Zimbabwean mercenaries, travelling on an American-registered ex-National Guard plane specially adapted for military purposes, that was originally flown to Africa by American pilots? The real motive lay deep below the ocean floor: oil.

In The Dogs of War, Frederick Forsyth effectively described an attempt by mercenaries to overthrow the government of Equatorial Guinea — in 1972. And the chain of events surrounding the night of March 7, 2004, is a rare case of life imitating art—or, at least, life imitating a 1970s thriller—in almost uncanny detail. With a cast of characters worthy of a remake of Wild Geese and a plot as mazy as it was unlikely, The Wonga Coup is a tale of venality, overarching vanity and greed whose example speaks to the problems of the entire African continent.

 

About Adam Roberts

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Adam Roberts is a novelist whose titles include By Light Alone, The Dragon with the Girl Tattoo, Gradisil, New Model Army, Salt, Swiftly, and Yellow Blue Tibia. His work has been nominated for the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the Philip K. Dick Award.
 
Published August 28, 2007 by PublicAffairs. 322 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Travel. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Wonga Coup

The New York Times

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Today, as Roberts points out, American officials “talk of Africa, especially the Gulf of Guinea, providing as much as a quarter of all American oil imports within a couple of decades.” While an all-out, American-led war in West Africa seems unlikely, men like Mann — or the Dogs of War, to borrow ...

Aug 13 2006 | Read Full Review of The Wonga Coup: Guns, Thugs a...

The Guardian

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The Wonga Coup by Adam Roberts Profile, £9.99, pp304 Occupational Hazards: My Time Governing Iraq by Rory Stewart Picador, £17.99, pp422 Consider these contrasting tales of Britons abroad in a post-imperial world.

Jun 25 2006 | Read Full Review of The Wonga Coup: Guns, Thugs a...

The Guardian

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The Wonga Coup by Adam Roberts 304pp, Profile, £9.99.

Aug 11 2006 | Read Full Review of The Wonga Coup: Guns, Thugs a...

Entertainment Weekly

A 1973 coup attempt in Equatorial Guinea, a tiny country in the armpit of western Africa, inspired Frederick Forsyth's thriller The Dogs of War and, Adam Roberts hints, may have involved Forsyth himself.

Aug 04 2006 | Read Full Review of The Wonga Coup: Guns, Thugs a...

The Bookbag

With a cast of characters including the charismatic Mann, the puppet leader in exile Severo Moto, a band of shady financiers including the mysterious JH Archer (could it really be that Archer?) and the son of a former prime minister, Mark Thatcher, The Wonga Coup often reads like an outlandish th...

Oct 24 2009 | Read Full Review of The Wonga Coup: Guns, Thugs a...

Scotsman.com

WHEN armed Scorpions, South Africa's elite equivalent of the FBI, raided Sir Mark Thatcher's £2.2 million nine-bedroom house in Cape Town in August 2004 they were surprised at the size of his safe.

Jun 21 2008 | Read Full Review of The Wonga Coup: Guns, Thugs a...

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