The English author Eric Campbell has spent most of his working life in Papua New Guinea and in Tanzania. He has written several novels from exotiv places that he knows well.
The Place of the Lions is set in London and in Tanzania.
The main character is Chris Harris, a 14 year old boy whose mother died a few years ago. He seems mature for his age, and his best friend at school is Henry, the caretaker. Chris’ father grieves the loss of his wife and depends on his son for strength and moral support. Other important characters in the book are: Mike Taylor, a safari guide, Hyram T. Johnson, an American safari tourist, an air pilot, a band of poachers and last, but not least, an old lion preparing to die.
Neither Chris nor his father is very happy with their life in London after Chris’ mother died. When Mr. Harris is offered a job in Tanzania, they decide to move and start a new life there. After they arrive at the Kilimanjaro airport, they board a small plane which is to bring them to their destination: Musoma. But the plane never gets there... It crashes in the middle of the Serengeti. Both Chris, his father and the pilot are injured, but among them Chris is the better off, and the men depend on him for help. A flock of lions nearby represents a serious threat. And when Chris sets off into the vast Serengeti plain to look for help, one of the lions follow him...
The point of view of the narrator varies. Most of the story is told from Chris’ point of view, but some parts are told from the point of view of the safari guide, others from that of the lion.
The Place of Lions is a book about loss and loneliness, about starting a new life, about courage and about the special friendship that can exist between animal and human being — between the beast and the boy.
I like the book very much, because it is easy to read and well written, and it is a dramatic and exciting story. The author shows that he knows a great deal about wildlife in Tanzania. I also learned something from this book.