The Rain Goddess
Author: Peter Stiff
256pp; 242 X 168mm;
Trade softcover; ISBN 1-919854-06-1. Bar code: 9781919854069
Fiction based on fact
About The Rain Goddess
The Rain Goddess is an explosive novel set in the highly volatile area of Senga on the north-eastern border of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in the mid 1960s and early 1970s. The powerful drama erupts as the British South Africa Police, later joined by the Rhodesian Army and supported by the Air Force, struggle against communist backed guerrillas who use violence and torture to intimidate tribesmen to follow their cause. They fight to restore peace - a peace that is governed as much by force of arms as by the tribesmen's' faith in the uncanny predictions of their tribal spirit medium . . . who communes with the spirit of the Rain Goddess.
How The Rain Goddess came to be written
In the late 1960s/early 1970s Peter Stiff was a senior officer in the British South Africa Police, Rhodesia. Internal insurgency combined with major armed guerrilla incursions from Zambia had commenced, but the government played them down to the public at large. In an effort to maintain public morale/ignorance only the police, and latterly regular army soldiers, were deployed on counter-insurgency operations. The government was determined to avoid casualties amongst young white national servicemen.
Stiff did not subscribe to the view that the public should be kept in the dark. After resigning his commission in 1972 he wrote The Rain Goddess, a 'fictional' account of the bush war based on his own experiences and those of his former police comrades. It was impossible to write it as non fiction because this would have carried the sanction of a prosecution under the Official Secrets Act.
The Rain Goddess served its intended purpose and alerted an amazed Rhodesian public to the undeclared war then raging on its doorstep.
The Rain Goddess is widely recognised as the classic book on the Rhodesian Bush War.
The Rain Goddess has come to be regarded as the classic novel on the Rhodesian War.
The Natal Mercury, Durban
The author writes with firsthand knowledge of his subject. For 20 years he served with the British South Africa Police . . . he allows no flagging in the pace of his story - a story of cruelty and of courage, of loyalty and treachery.
The Star Literary Supplement, Johannesburg
Action packed and topical. It is difficult to put the book down.
The Rhodesia Herald
The Rain Goddess became that phenomenon known as success.
To the Point, Johannesburg
The characters are readily recognised; thoroughly convincing, well-researched people, the type you have met and associated with in this part of the world . . . An excellently constructed work.
The Sunday Mail
Peter Stiff knows the area and its people with an intimacy that leaves the ordinary observer trailing far behind him.
A grippingly exciting book full of pathos, written by a man who obviously understands and respects the African.
Packed with action and excitement . . . The author allows no flagging in the pace of his story - a story of cruelty and courage, of loyalty and treachery.
The Cape Argus
This story was very interesting and I enjoy the truth about the use of the weapons and what they could do and what they stood for. The book had me a little upset at times but not because of the authorís writing style but merely that we have exactly the same happening in South Africa and one is unsure of your future in this country. This book was so good that I didnít do much chores around the house while reading it.
Marc Masson, Rustenburg, North West, South Africa
Thank-you for insight into life in Africa through your book "The Rain Goddess"
It is one amazing story.
I have been trying to procure a copy or two here in Australia but seems like it must be purchased either from UK or Africa.
I hope you will continue to write as your books are like a keyhole view into a completely different world.
Plus I believe you have a great gift. First in your wonderful writing skill, and also in your ability to document or report real? life in a way that might or might not be fictional.
I think that a couple of hundred years down the track, when anyone reads your book they will still say "WOW" And thank God there was an author who could write about life like that.
And "Could it have been like that really?" And was it really fiction? And how much was factual?
It is terribly hard for anyone in a place like Australia to believe that this sort of activity is possible.
People here have absolutely no idea about this sort of thing. And absolutely no thought that it might ever happen here. And no idea into the minds of terrorists.
It would be good if the bookshelves here could be flooded with your work. We are only starting to be aware of terrorist type people. Let alone what they are capable of.
Thank-you again for the insight. Good book. And good luck!
Kristine (Clothier) Myers - Australia
Peter Stiff's The Rain Goddess which was published in 1973 attempts a far more sustained guerrilla perspective of the war than any previous novel had provided. Stiff rose to the rank of Superintendent in the British South Africa Police and for anyone in that position, it must have been clear by the end of 1972 that blacks were refusing to exist contentedly within the closed discourse the settlers had written for them . . . The Rain Goddess was the most informed book written about the war . . .
Society in Zimbabwe's Liberation War: Edited by Prof Ngwabi Bhebi and Prof Terence Ranger. Book published by James Currey, Oxford, 1996.