White Highlands by John McGhie

White Highlands by John McGhie. This is a beautifully written and well researched novel set in both the present day and Kenya in the 1950s during the Mau Mau uprising.


Sam, a young barrister, is sent to Kenya as part of a legal mission investigating compensation claims for brutalities committed by the colonialists during ’The Emergency’. At the same time, she hopes to find out more about her mysterious grandfather Johnny Seymour. The parallell narrative is about Johnny and the role he played in the atrocious cruelties  against the Kenyans that took place in the 1950s.


White Highlands is a thriller that describes horrible events during a dark time in British colonial history, but it is also a story about love, compassion and friendship. I thoroughly enjoyed it.


This book was sent to me by Amazon for an independent review.


If you want to know which other books I have recently read and loved, click HERE.



Kenya, 1952, a colony on the edge. Settlers drink sundowners on the veranda but the servants can't be trusted. Beyond manicured lawns, in the dark of the forest, freedom is stirring.

Johnny Seymour has seen too much war and seeks solace photographing East African wildlife. But when isolated white families are slaughtered by Mau Mau gangs, the British respond brutally and Johnny is reluctantly pulled into the horror. After his African driver Macharia disappears, Johnny is forced to confront shocking truths about his own country and ask how far he'll go to help a friend.


Nearly sixty years later, disgraced young barrister Sam Seymour knows nothing about her grandfather. Even his name is taboo. All she understands is that Johnny did something so awful that his only son - her father - had to be rescued from Kenya. With veteran Mau Mau fighters demanding reparations for past sins, she's been offered a chance to unpeel history and discover why.

In a narrative spanning the generations, White Highlands follows Sam and Johnny as they confront the might of the British state. One man stands in both their way - Grogan Littleboy, a ruthless colonial survivor who'll do anything to defeat Mau Mau, past and present.


A startlingly original novel set in both the present day and Kenya in the 1950s during the Mau Mau uprising - one of the least known and darkest episodes in British colonial history.

Write a comment

Comments: 0