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Only the Dead by HAMILTON WENDE (Armstrong 1979)
Deep in the Ugandan jungle, a mysterious new presence has infiltrated the Claws of God – a cult army of child soldiers led by the depraved General Faustin. The children are now being controlled by the sinister Papa Mephisto, and believe he is possessed by the magic and power of the lion. Psychologist Tania Richter is struggling to penetrate the minds of these dangerous and brainwashed children. She calls on Sebastian Burke who, while trying to escape his traumatic past and failed relationship, has been researching lion mythology and its tangled history in human culture. Sebastian soon finds himself embroiled in a war that extends to the conflict between Islamic extremists and the American government. With the world under threat of nuclear war and the lives of the children at stake, he and Tania must race to uncover the tangled history of lions and humans through the ages, and face its horrifying implications.