Into The Darkness by Paul Zunckel

One man struggles for survival in the South Africa wilderness!

Behind Piet, a large herd of elephant moves into the area and the trail that the man was leaving in his shuffling search for water is obliterated. His mind burning from the sun as it hammers down on him, he hears voices in the distance, someone calling, a name repeated again and again...

“Van Zyl...Piet van Zyl...over here boet...we’re here to help you...we have water...hey van Zyl.”

Piet stops, and turns, resting against a tree. Through the shimmering heat waves that hang over the brush he sees two men moving towards him. The sunlight glints off the barrel of a rifle, a sound of a shot sends the monkeys in the trees into a wild panic, the roosting birds take to the sky, and Piet instinctively dives into the dirt as a bullet remove a chunk of bark from the tree where he had been standing.

The sound of the shot sends the animal following Piet deep into the brush, its flanks shaking with fear, but it will not run, the smell of the man and the desire for food is stronger than the fear the gunshot evokes.

Memories, memories flood the darkness of his mind, contact, gunfire, uniforms, survival and the burly South Africa leopard crawls away from the area, moving swiftly behind the two shouting men, and slowly the hunters become the hunted. The question turns over and over in his mind as he follows them. Why are they trying to kill him...who is he... is he Piet van Zyl...who are they?


Piet van Zyl tried to stop the animal poachers. Now he's been left for dead, alive but badly injured. No memories. Predators all around, and the threat of the elements day and night. Hunted by loved ones, assassins and the animals he spent his life trying to save, Into the Darkness is a thrilling tale of attempting to survive in the South African veldt and beyond, on wits alone.


Paul Zunckel was born in 1957 in Rhodesia. His family moved to South Africa in 1966, where he completed his schooling at Kingsway Senior High School in Amanzimtoti. He did his two years National service in the South African Defence Force as an Ops Medic, wanting to follow his heart and study medicine, but life got in the way. Paul was employed in Air Traffic Control for twenty years, and has been involved in Management positions for over twenty-five years. He has a Human Resource Management Diploma, and is an accredited Facilitator. He started to write full time in August 2014, about something that is close to his heart... Africa. The mysteries, the superstitions, and all the beauty and treachery of the land. His wife is responsible for the road he is now traveling, as she was the driving force behind him in his Debut novel, Blood Moon over Africa. Paul and his family live in the Eastern Cape, South Africa.


The cover is a copy of Vuoristoa ja vesiputous by Marcus Larson (1825-64) dated from 1851. Marcus Larson [Public domain or CC0], via Wikimedia Commons.

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