Harold Edward Bindloss was an English novelist who wrote many adventure novels set in western Canada. Bindloss was born in Liverpool in 1866. He was more than 30 years old before he began writing. Previously he worked as a farmer in Canada and as a cargo heaver, a planter, and at other jobs in southern climes. He returned to London. In 1898, he published his first book, a non-fiction account based on his travels in Africa, called In the Niger Country. This was followed by dozens of novels. He was a popular writer. One reviewer writes: "A new book by Harold Bindloss is always welcome. He tells a story well indeed, but one likes his books best perhaps for the environment which he knows so well how to sketch. He has written charming stories of the Canadian Northwest and one remembers with pleasure his novels Prescott of Saskatchewan and Winston of the Prairie", (Oakland Tribune, 1915). Bindloss' most famous works include: Ranching for Sylvia (1912), The Gold Trail (1910) and Vane of the Timberlands (1911).
It was towards the middle of a sweltering afternoon when Commandant Dom Erminio roused himself to wakefulness as he lay in his Madeira chair on the veranda of Fort San Roque, which stands beside a muddy river of Western Africa. As a rule Dom Erminio slept all the afternoon, which was not astonishing, since there was very little else for him to do, and if there had been he would conscientiously have refrained from doing it as long as possible. It is also very probable that any other intelligent white man similarly circumstanced would have been glad to spend part, at least, of the weary day in merciful oblivion. San Roque is one of the hottest places in Africa, which is saying a good deal, and at night a sour white steam, heavy with the exhalations of putrefaction, rises from the muddy river. They usually bring the white man who breathes them fever of one or several kinds, while even if he endures them scatheless the steamy heat melts the vigor out of him, and the black dejection born of it and the monotony crushes his courage down. San Roque is scorched with pitiless sunshine during part of the year, but it is walled in by never-lifting shadow, for all round the dark forest creeps close up to it.
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