Dawn of Darkness
In northeastern Botswana, you'll find the Mombo safari, located in the Savute, a vast, dry grassland inside the Chobe National Park. It is a well-known spot where large lion prides reign supreme over buffalo, elephant, and leopard herds.
Savute is surrounded by a river that only flows for five years and dries up for the next twenty-five. When the river is alive, all species of small and large animals like cheetahs, giraffes, zebras, gazelles, wild dogs, hyenas, and more flock into the region. When the water dries up the smaller animals move away leaving behind all the big predators to fight it out for survival.
Here, in this slice of the animal kingdom, it is very much like the Game of Thrones. Though generations of Lion kings and queens have ruled this modern-day Eden, there are many other predators willing to kill each other to get to the top of the food chain.
Matsumi, the queen of the lions has just witnessed her King brutally killed. The throne has been stolen by Mmamotse, the leader of a ferocious pack of hyenas in a deadly night raid. They are like an invading rebel army, spreading fear and terror throughout Mombo. The lion's retreat, fleeing with their cubs to regroup at a distance and plan their revenge.
Matsumi is now constantly on the move with what is left of her pack. She is now in exile and has decided to protect her cubs - future kings and queens of the kingdom - as she bides her time to get her throne back. She and her sister share mothering and babysitting duties but they proceed with caution - there are many dangers lurking about.
One of these comes in the form of Blue Eyes, a fierce male leopard who no one can trust. Matsumi's intuition proved correct. One of her more adventurous cubs strayed from the pack and quickly met a sad and gruesome end thanks to Blue Eyes.
Another leopard, the fierce and untouchable Pula, has made the difficult decision to pull away from Blue Eyes as well. He had been her partner and they even share a cub, Motshidi. Though he is a strong potential ally, Pula knows that he has killed his own cubs in the past. So, like Matsumi the lion queen, Pula queen of the leopards gives up her own security to protect her cub.
What is crystal clear is that these big predators are extremely intelligent and fascinating to watch. They are not allowed to put their guard down even for a minute. They have to be fast, learn on their feet, adapt, and take advantage of any situation that can help them survive.
As the river continues to rise, all the different predator groups are forced closer to each other, trapped on an island that can quickly turn into a battlefield. And of course, only the strongest species will survive and come out on top.