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Diamond Mountain ~ Aviation, love and adventure in Colonial Africa

Diamond Mountain

Diamond Mountain is a romantic adventure set between 1960 and 1962 in Cape Town and the mountainous African kingdom of Lesotho where I spent my early years and my father, a district commissioner, investigated and prosecuted illegal diamond buying and medicine murder, two major themes in my story.

Stuart Price, a handsome, hardworking bush pilot, is determined to prove he’s the antithesis of his conman father.

Busy building his flying hours to realise his dream of becoming a jet pilot, he’s ill-prepared for the temptation offered by Philippa, the District Commissioner’s beautiful daughter.

Isolated by the rugged mountains of Africa’s mountain kingdom, Lesotho, in the early 1960s, Stuart navigates social convention, passion and almost loses himself in the risky world of illegal diamond buying in a bid to convince Philippa to follow her heart instead of her dreams of a glittering society marriage to up-and-coming lawyer, Matthew Myburgh.

Diamond Mountain transports the reader to a bygone era, the dying days of British Colonialism, of glamorous partying and tenuous race relations, as it tells the story of a young man’s struggle to retain his honour and integrity in his bid to salvage the reputation of the woman he loves.

Inspiration for the book…

Read Chapter One of Diamond Mountain here.

The Mokhotlong Races once featured only one horse in the competition after the others either bolted or fell. I’ve included this story in Diamond Mountain as it progressed the plot nicely by furnishing the isolated Lizzie, wife of my pilot hero, with the financial means to do something impressive.
A view from the mountains of Mokhotlong

A view from the mountains of Mokhotlong

My mother, Gail Nettelton, sometimes accompanied dad on trek.

My mother, Gail Nettelton, sometimes accompanied dad on trek.

Sieving machine in Letseng le Terai

Above is a very basic sieving machine. It’s one of many slides of Letseng le Terai in Lesotho in the 1960s. In ‘A Mountain of Tears’, Moeketsi, the Basuto diamond prospector, and his wife, Mabel, sell their sheep and buy a sieving machine.

The above are pictures of diamond mining in Letseng le Terai & my mother going on trek in Colonial Basutoland where there were few roads. Today Letseng le Terai is owned by De Beers and one of the largest diamond mines in the world, but in the early 1960s when my story is set it was accessible only by light aircraft and by donkey tracks.

Mokhotlong - race day (the one-horse race)

The rugged Basuto pony took my District Commissioner hero (no. 2), Charles Tremain, on regular treks throughout Lesotho.

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