Good Morning! I’m writing a new book which has as its protagonist, Isabella Green, the youngest daughter of the Green Family from Rebel Green. She travels to Sierra Leone, a country emerging from civil war, to write an article about a chimp sanctuary. Animals are her obsession, and she can’t resist getting involved with the project, which is on the verge of bankruptcy. She forms a bond with local boy, Ten, and army veteran, Pete, to try and save it.
When they rescue a rare white chimp from a village frequented by a dangerous rebel splinter group, the resulting media interest could save the sanctuary. But the rebel group have not signed the cease fire. They believe the voodoo power of the white chimp protects them from bullets, and they are determined to take it back so they can storm the capital.
When Pete and Ten go missing, only Isabella stands in the rebels’ way. Her desperation to rescue them unlocks the fighting spirit within her. Can she succeed, or will she die trying?
Tacugama Chimp Santuary
I got the idea for the book as I was trawling through some work photos from my first trip to Sierra Leone in 2015. I made a visit to the Tacugama Chimp Sanctuary, which is still going, and was impressed by their dedication and drive to save the chimps.
The story of the sanctuary began back in 1989. Accountant Bala Amarasekaran and his wife Sharmila were in a small village 150 kilometres north of the capital Freetown when they saw a young male chimpanzee for sale. It looked sick so they paid US$30 to rescue the animal and raised it in their home. They named it Bruno and he became the founder member of their rescue mission. In a strange twist, Bruno and several other adult chimps escaped from the sanctuary several years ago and have never been seen again. Unfortunately, they killed a local taxi driver when he tried to stop them.
I hope to finish the book in late summer and I will post a pre-order link here later. Meanwhile here are some of the chimps at the sanctuary. The little ones are new arrivals in quarantine to prevent them infecting the group with human viruses