The Wonga Coup

A 1973 coup attempt in Equatorial Guinea, a tiny country in the armpit of western Africa, inspired Frederick Forsyth’s thriller The Dogs of War and, Adam Roberts hints, may have involved Forsyth himself. Flash forward 30 years: An Eton-trained retiree from Britain’s Special Forces allegedly hatches a Forsyth-like plot to invade the same country, now rich with oil (and still absurdly corrupt). In a remarkable piece of reporting told in lucid prose, Roberts unravels this folly, which winds up implicating Mark Thatcher (son of Margaret) as well as best-seller Jeffrey Archer (who denies involvement). As in so many African stories, in The Wonga Coup no side emerges unsullied.

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