Read Ivory Online

Authors: Tony Park


BOOK: Ivory
8.14Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub



Tony Park was born in 1964 and grew up in the western suburbs of Sydney. He has worked as a newspaper reporter in Australia and England, a government press secretary, a public relations consultant and a freelance writer. He is also a major in the Australian Army Reserve and served six months in Afghanistan in 2002 as the public affairs officer for the Australian ground forces. He and his wife, Nicola, divide their time between their home in Sydney and southern Africa, where they own a tent and a Series III Land Rover. He is the author of
Far Horizon
African Sky, Safari
Silent Predator



Also by Tony Park


Far Horizon


African Sky


Silent Predator







First published 2009 in Macmillan by Pan Macmillan Australia Pty Limited
1 Market Street, Sydney


Copyright © Tony Park 2009


The moral right of the author has been asserted.


All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted by any person or any entity (including Google, Amazon or similar organisations) in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, scanning or by any information storage and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher.


National Library of Australia
Cataloguing-in-Publication data:


Park, Tony, 1964–.

Ivory / Tony Park.


ISBN 9781405039536 (pbk.)




The characters and events in this book are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.


Typeset in 11/15 pt Birka by Post Pre-press Group, Brisbane
Printed by McPherson's Printing Group
Cartographic art by Laurie Whiddon, Map Illustrations


Papers used by Pan Macmillan Australia Pty Limited are natural, recyclable products made from wood grown in sustainable forests. The manufacturing processes conform to the environmental regulations of the country of origin.





These electronic editions published in 2009 by Pan Macmillan Australia Pty Ltd
1 Market Street, Sydney


The moral right of the author has been asserted.


All rights reserved. This publication (or any part of it) may not be reproduced or transmitted, copied, stored, distributed or otherwise made available by any person or entity (including Google, Amazon or similar organisations), in any form (electronic, digital, optical, mechanical) or by any means (photocopying, recording, scanning or otherwise) without prior written permission from the publisher.




Tony Park


Adobe eReader format: 978-1-74198-629-7
Online format: 978-1-74198-573-3
EPUB format: 978-1-74198-741-6


Macmillan Digital Australia


to read more about all our books and to buy both print and ebooks online. You will also find features, author interviews and news of any author events.



About Tony Park

Also by Tony Park

Title page



Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34




For Nicola




t was early on the morning of his fifth birthday that he saw his first elephant, and for as long as he lived he would never forget that moment.

The mist hung low over the plains, and stretched as far as he could see as he peered over the black dashboard of the Land Rover. The vinyl still gave off that oily new smell when the sun slanted in through the square windows, as it did now.

Ponha o seu casaco novo
, Alexandre,' his mother said. Even though it was still cold, he didn't want to pull on his new jacket. Reluctantly, he let his mother pull the scratchy garment over his arms and button it. The coat was a birthday present, but so too was his shiny new toy Land Rover – an identical miniature of his father's Series IIA. He wanted to play with the car, but his father kept telling him to look for animals.

Ai, não pareces elegante
?' his mother said, but Alex didn't think he looked smart at all.

‘Come here, Alex,' his father said. ‘It's time you learned how to drive.' His father always spoke English and his mother Portuguese. It had always been that way and he answered each in their respective tongue. At five he was fluent in both languages, and thanks to his friend Jose,
whose father worked for Alex's father at the hotel, he had a good command of the local African language, Xitswa, too.

He dropped his toy car and clambered onto his father's lap. He gripped the steering wheel and squealed with delight when his father let go.

‘Donald!' his mother shrieked.

‘The boy's doing fine. Look, Alex.'

‘Buffalo,' Alex said proudly. He had seen a herd yesterday when they had arrived at the national park. His father had said there were at least a thousand buffalo in the herd, scattered like black marbles across the close-cropped green grass of the floodplain. This one was by himself, though, and he loomed out of the thinning mist like a black ghost.

‘Good boy, steady as she goes. He won't hurt us.'

Alex turned to watch the huge head with its curved horns that seemed as long, from tip to tip, as he was tall. The steering wheel bucked and turned in his tiny hands as the tyres bounced in and out of ruts and the embedded footprints of animals that had churned the road to mud during the last rains and since dried as hard as pitted concrete.

‘Maybe we'll see some lions today,' his father whispered in his ear. ‘In the wild this time.'

Alex growled in imitation of the caged beast he had seen in Vilanculos, awaiting shipment to Portugal. His father had said it was bad to keep wild animals in cages, but his mother had scoffed and said there were far too many lions in Africa as it was and they should all be shot or shipped to zoos around the world.

Olha, elefantes!
' his mother called.

His father took back control of the steering wheel and slowed the Land Rover to a stop. Alex turned and caught sight of the elephants. The nearest was barely twenty metres away. Alex climbed off his father's lap and onto his mother's as she was closer to the great grey beast. His father killed the engine.

‘It's a female. She could be the same age as you, my boy, judging by those thin little tusks.'

The elephant turned, startled, shook her head and raised her trunk, sniffing the air. Alex reached out of the open window, but his mother
snatched his hand back inside. He heard a funny sound like a tummy rumble, but much, much deeper.

‘They're talking to each other,' his father said.

She was the biggest thing he had seen in his young life and he stared at her in silence, drinking in every detail of her wrinkled grey body. The huge head, the white tusks that shone pale gold in the growing light, the hairy tuft at the end of her tail and the pink mouth that seemed to smile at him. He found it hard to believe that she was only five, like him. ‘What's wrong with her ear, Papa?' There was a large v-shaped rent in the left one.

‘I don't know, my boy. Perhaps a lion tried to catch her when she was a baby. If so, she's a very lucky elephant indeed.'

‘Can a lion kill an elephant, Papa?'

‘Only a little one. Once they're this big they're safe from everything in the wild, except man.'

‘What do you mean, Papa?'

‘People are killing elephants all over Africa, Alex, for their tusks, and it's wrong. We need to protect these animals. They're the future of our country – your future, Alex.'

Alex's mother said, in Portuguese, that there were more things in Mozambique to worry about than people hunting elephants, and that his father should not fill the boy's head with such serious words on his birthday. Alex let the conversation flow over him and continued to stare, open-mouthed, at the elephant with the tear in her ear.

The elephant started to walk towards them. His mother told his father to start the engine, but his father shook his head. ‘She won't hurt us. She's made the decision to approach the vehicle – we'd only be in trouble if we were invading her territory.'

‘Donald!' his mother hissed, unconvinced.

Alex could feel his heart beating in his chest and he looked back over his shoulder at his father, who smiled at him and winked. His mother put her hands over her eyes and scrunched down so that her head was below the level of the dashboard. Alex wriggled off her lap so that he was next to the door and reached his hand out of the window again.

As the elephant drew closer, he could see the tip of her trunk was pink and that rather than being flat like a pig's snout, it had two protrusions, like funny little fat fingers. Alex could smell her musty scent and see her long eyelashes and the glistening eye that watched him.

He held his hand steady and felt the soft exhalation of warm breath on his palm as she kissed him.


Southampton, England


he overheated interior of the security minivan in which Jane was driven across the dock stank of the driver's body odour, and the cigarette he'd obviously been smoking before she got in. The relief she got from opening the sliding door was short lived, and the wind and rain lashed her while she struggled to drag her rucksack and day pack out. The driver had no intention of leaving his seat to help her, and was probably looking forward to relighting his smoke. Her strawberry blonde hair was plastered to her face and rivulets cascaded off the collar of her Gore-Tex parka and down the back of her neck. The bleak day matched her mood. There was no band, no streamers, no crowds of well-wishers, no tearful farewells. Just row upon row of brand-new Land Rovers, awaiting loading on a car carrier.

BOOK: Ivory
8.14Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge
The Salem Witch Society by K. N. Shields
The Cockney Angel by Dilly Court
Spirit Ascendancy by E. E. Holmes
Plague by Victor Methos
Skintight by Susan Andersen