L. Ron Hubbard did meticulous research for his stories, often living the adventures he wrote. Little known facts made his realistic fiction authentic.
These facts are inspired by the historical fiction novel All Frontiers Are Jealous.
Set in Africa, this story features a surveyor who gets caught in the middle of a diamond smuggling ring while plotting the route to connect the Uganda Railway with the Angelo-Egyptian railroad.
Our historical facts center on building the Sudan railway system.
We begin the story in 1856 in Egypt with the railway line between Alexandria and Cairo. Two years following the completion of the line, a railroad car fell into the river Nile. This accident cost the life of Prince Ahmed, the heir to the throne of Egypt.
Ahmed’s brother, Prince Isma’il, was therefore pronounced Monarch of Egypt.
Isma’il Pasha was not only a dreamer and builder but also a shrewd businessman.
During the American Civil War, he made a fortune by selling Egyptian cotton to Americans.
He also oversaw the Egyptian portion of the Suez Canal and planned and then financed the first railway line into Sudan.
But Isma’il Pasha never saw the railroad built before his death in 1895.
Horatio Herbert Kitchener
A year later, in 1896, Major Horatio Kitchener decided to build Isma’il Pasha’s railroad. But Kitchener’s intention for this railroad was not to bring civilization to Sudan as Isma’il had planned, but to supply his army to win the war for the British and Sudanese against the Mahdist regime—the Mahdists were part of a religious and political movement launched in 1881 and ruled Sudan till 1898.
Building the railroad in Sudan was not an easy task. To be more precise, it was an engineering nightmare due to a lack of tools, materials, and quality labor.
Cecil Rhodes, who founded the African territory of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe and Zambia), came to Kitchener’s rescue and provided the first three locomotives and other much-needed tools and materials.
But labor was still a problem. Out of desperation, unskilled Egyptian peasants were recruited and two hundred convicts were paroled and added to the workforce.
The railway was finally completed within 3 years in 1899.
But the trouble wasn’t over yet, the new railroad built with unskilled labor made a trip more adventure than just transport.
A contemporary traveler described the railway as “a fairly bumpy ride and frequent accidents—locomotives that flew off tracks, had to be hoisted back on the rails to continue along the track as if nothing had happened.”
Even though the railroad was a nightmare to build and an adventure to travel, it was the deciding factor in winning the war in Sudan for the British and Sudanese.
All Frontier Are Jealous—The Story
American engineer and surveyor Dan Courtney is learning fast that it takes more than a little charm to lay the groundwork for a railroad.
Particularly when the plan is to build it across some of the roughest and most dangerous territory on Earth—Africa. Courtney’s been hired to survey the land that would link up the Uganda Railway to the Anglo-Egyptian railroad.
Running through desert, jungle, and mountains, this is one line—and story—with more twists and turns than the New York City subway system.
Diamond smugglers. A fearsome native tribe. A beautiful young American woman … and a man determined to kill her.
Put them all together and you’ve got a world where All Frontiers Are Jealous.
It’s up to Courtney to tame those frontiers—take on the tribe, save the woman, and save the future of the railroad … before his blood ends up on the tracks.
By the age of nineteen, L. Ron Hubbard had logged more than a quarter-million miles and had visited such faraway and exotic lands as China, Japan, the Philippines, Guam, and Hawaii. He already possessed a full membership in the famed Explorers Club while in his twenties. Ron made a name for himself as an adventurer and as he put it, “Men had to be big or fall before the unknown.”
Puerto Rico, 1932
An experienced civil engineer and surveyor himself, he worked on the West Indies Mineralogical Expedition in Puerto Rico.
His far-flung adventures served as rich source material for stories and the backbone for his realistic fiction books.
L. Ron Hubbard compiled thousands of diary, ledger, and journal pages—essentially his personal notebook of the world—which formed a part of his meticulous research and pursuit of the “slim, forgotten fact” that would elevate a story from the mundane to the memorable.
Regardless of the setting, his stories had a ring of authenticity. Whether imperiled by a forbidding storm at sea or prey to the desert’s unforgiving expanse, whether the danger came from a jungle or the stratosphere, L. Ron Hubbard’s characters and action seemed genuine. As he best described it: “In writing an adventure story a writer has to know that he is adventuring for a lot of people who cannot. The writer has to take them here and there about the globe and show them excitement and love and realism.”
All Frontiers Are Jealous is based on the true stories—real history—of numerous harrowing attempts in the late 19th and early 20th century to establish African railroads.
If you are not familiar with L. Ron Hubbard’s historical fiction books, you can read the page-turner The Trail of the Red Diamonds as our gift to you.
“Uncooperative geography, wild animals, and hostile natives stymie the future route of the Sudan Railway.” —Publishers Weekly
“The stories’ fast-moving pace is sure to keep listeners enthralled. Great fun for nostalgia buffs, recommended for tweens and up.” —Library Journal
“Flawless technical recordings, a true ʻtheatre of the mindʼ experience and is enthusiastically recommended for personal and community library audiobook collections.” —Midwest Book Review
Listen to This Excerpt of the Audiobook
Listen to a clip of this action-adventure story, brought to life by Hollywood actors and cinematic sound.