Description of printed book:

160 X 240mm. 489 pp. Maps and photographs. Paperback, ISBN 978-0-620-48405-3

Based on meticulous research into the tragic decline of the Zulu kingdom, this is a riveting account about death in all its many forms: the death of childhood, the death of love, the death of honour, the death of a state.

The Zulu way of life is threatened when events suddenly propel Britain into the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879. Here are the movements of armies and peoples, and here are the battles of Isandlwana, Rorke’s Drift, Hlobane, Khambula and Ulundi.

Here are the intrigues that make Colonel Anthony Durnford the scapegoat for the defeat of the British at Isandlwana, and here is a portrayal of Frances Ellen Colenso’s personal anguish as she passionately defends her lover.

The capture and exile of King Cetshwayo and his farcical restoration ensures the bitter Zulu civil war. His sudden death leaves many question marks. Who poisoned him? Why?

Harriette Colenso takes the lead on behalf of King Dinuzulu in crusading against colonial injustice and exploitation. But Zululand passes into the hands of its colonial masters and the embattled Zulu royal house faces an uncertain future under the ever more powerful clutches of a racist government.

Penny Howcroft powerfully evokes the mood of the times. There can be no doubt that readers will feel that they know old Zululand and Natal intimately after savouring these pages.


I was reading Chapter 5 of the third book in the Zulu Kings Trilogy, titled The Zulu Kings: At Bay, available for the Kindle from Amazon.   While Penny Howcroft’s descriptions of the terrain were clear and evocative, I found myself without a visual reference.  So I have produced two images, derived from Google Maps.  What I did was I overlaid the historical maps, and identified the key positions and geographic markers.

It wasn’t easy.  The hand drawn maps were created before the space age, and did not benefit from any form of aerial reconnaissance.

So here they are:

The main features mentioned in the descriptions of the Battle of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift. The satellite photo is modern, the labels are old.

And in this next one, I have done the same thing.  I have overlaid the hand drawn maps with an up to date satellite photo.  The steepness of the hills that the Zulus charged down is clearly shown.

The British were accused of spreading their men too thinly, as can be seen in this image. The Zulu Horns and Body formation is clearly evident.