The Undesirables – Dave Boling

The Undesirables – Dave Boling

If I ask you to picture a concentration camp, you’d probably think of Nazis, Auschwitz and gas chambers, wouldn’t you?

But actually the concentration camp was a British invention – we came up with the format of imprisoning ‘undesirable’ people way back in 1900 during the Boer War.

Set in one such camp, this is a heart-warming and eye-opening tale of one girl’s struggle against the oppressors and how she copes as she comes of age.

Dave Boling authorThis is the second book from Dave Boling, who, if you remember, I raved about Guernica” almost a year ago now. I thought he wrote a stunning book, and so I was very excited and very lucky to be sent “The Undesirables”, Dave’s second novel and not due to be published until January 2014.

I have to say that it more than met my expectations….

Boer WarJust like “Guernica”, “The Undesirables” uses a family, a moment in history and powerful emotions to tell a tale of hardship and horror. You will witness the terror of the British through the eyes of an innocent teenage girl, and have your heart-strings pulled as she sees death, destruction and defiantly flouts camp rules.

In a nutshell, the book follows the life of a young girl called Aletta Venter.

When the British invade South Africa for gold and diamonds, her father, brother and uncle – Boer farmers – answer the call to fight, leaving behind Aletta, her mother, little brother Willem and sister Cee-Cee on the farm.

Convinced they were helping the Boers, they can do nothing when troops arive and burn their home to the ground.

Transferred to a prison camp, Lettie finds it hard to adapt to camp life – the rules, the lack of food, the death, the disease….

Concentration Camp Boer WarBut when she meets compassionate 19-year-old Tommy Maples, a British camp guard ‘with a heart’, she’s forced to question her own morals.

Are all Brits bad? Or are they two people confined by similar circumstances?

I won’t ruin this incredibly moving story for you, but let me just say that Dave Boling masterfully weaves together a tale of hardship, and geopolitics, and combines it with a farming family you can relate to.

Boer War CampYet it’s the character of Tommy Maples, the reluctant camp guard that will knock you for six. I can’t say much more, simply because it’s not out for a few months and I’ve been very lucky in being one of the first people to get their grubby mitts on a pre-publishing copy!

However, trust me when I say that “The Undesirables” will become one of the most desirable novels of 2014. If this doesn’t pick up awards and get championed left, right and centre I will give up book reviews.

So remember where you heard it here first. I will come back and re-visit this novel in January when the “paid” book reviewers get their reviews out!

This is a real gem of a novel.

The Book Boy Rating – 4.5/5


  1. Dave Boling
    Oct 29, 2013

    Thanks so much for the kind review. So glad you caught some of the messages I hoped would reach readers! Sincerely, Dave Boling

    • thebookboy
      Oct 29, 2013

      Thank you so much for stopping by Dave, and thank you for such an awesome book. Authors who take the time to interact with fans get the big thumbs up from me.

      I wish you all the best, I hope everyone else loves this too!


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