“Larry, I thoroughly enjoyed your testimony – my heart was warmed. I am the pastor at John’s church in Mayville. Your near death experience and the miracles that you encountered throughout your life are certainly a worthy witness to share with others. I agree that we all have a Black Death story or two, although not always a near death experience, and that how we perceive God and our faith play a role in whether we see life as full of miracles and angels or just seemingly random events. In my faith journey, I believe that I see acts of God’s love and grace in many people that I encounter – I often think of them as angels on earth that are building God’s kingdom on earth. While I have not had similar experiences like you share with an angel guiding your movements and reactions, I truly believe that God works in our lives in different and miraculous ways. May God’s blessings surround you, Pastor Steve”

-Steve DeLano

“Congratulations! I loved your book. Thanks for giving of your life to write it. I hope that it is read in church book clubs and that it ignites a spiritual revival. I’m so proud of you.”

-The Rev. Arthur B. Hancock


Seeing the Light through Black Death: Salvation in the African Savanna
by Laurence W. Trotter II
Trafford Publishing

book review by Mihir Shah

“I used to believe that life was the result of being either lucky, coincidental or earned through plain old-fashioned hard work.”

Growing up in the small town of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, the author delves into his childhood, college years at the University of Wisconsin, and rise to affluence in his adult years. While the work certainly contains biographical elements, its crux revolves around the juxtaposition of the discovery of faith with a seemingly certain-death event.

With chapters divided into short sections, and scripture verses gracing many of the pages, the reading experience is seamless and easy. More importantly, the reader is left upon a cliffhanger, pondering the outcome of the author’s encounter with the two-thousand-pound Cape buffalo that the African people nicknames “Black Death.” Meanwhile, the reader learns about the writer’s upbringing, from teaching skiing and the rowing prowess that resulted in a national championship to completing a ten-week Alpha course, which he compares to getting a diploma in Christian discipleship.

Interestingly, the author highlights what no one wants to hear: everyone has that Cape buffalo in their lives, the moment that brings them to the realization that they must walk in the steps of the Lord. Where a bow and arrow were moot, a small brown Bible was the difference between life and death for the author, an unquestionable turning point to faith and healing, both physical and spiritual. In the process of an extensive recovery, the author uses verses to provide lessons on the steps one can take to their own salvation and finding their own “heaven on earth.” From his own experience, the author not only sheds light on faith but sparks a pertinent conversation on the dynamic between trophy hunting versus being a steward of wildlife. Overall, the memoir is engaging throughout and delivers a unique, refreshing spin on prototypical faith-based works.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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Seeing the Light Through Black Death: Salvation in the African Savanna
Laurence W. Trotter II
Trafford, 236 pages, (paperback) $13.99, 9781698702131
(Reviewed: November 2020)

Laurence W. Trotter II’s brush with death anchors this inspirational memoir about God, miracles, and finding a greater purpose in life.

In 2012, adventure enthusiast Trotter found salvation during an African hunting expedition. Trotter was attacked by a Cape buffalo, an animal that hunting experts call the “Black Death.” Miraculously, Trotter heard a voice during the attack guiding him to survival: “Stay on your back,” the voice said. “Put your boots…between the horns and push away with your feet.”

The African trackers and professional hunters who witnessed the attack agreed that “if [Trotter] hadn’t done exactly what [he] did, [he] would have been killed.” Though his mangled shoulder would require extensive surgeries and rehabilitation, Trotter walked away from the attack, attributing his survival to what he believes was God’s voice, sparing his life for the greater purpose of sharing God’s realness with others.
Despite a few typographical errors, Trotter’s memoir is mostly a well written, effortless read, although it bogs down in the beginning, spending too much time discussing Boy Scouts, rowing, skiing, business ventures and arguments over trophy hunting before describing his encounter with the buffalo. These topics do little to support the book’s purpose. Trotter gains momentum in Chapter 7, focusing on his message the rest of the way. Fortunately, the introduction provides an overview of each chapter for impatient readers.

Trotter accomplished his goal of “God being the main character” in this book; the later chapters center on God’s involvement in Trotter’s spiritual and physical healing. While many memoirists fail to connect with readers, Trotter finds the common thread through his story and ours: He believes we all have Cape buffalo stories of miracles and divine intervention, reaffirming “that God is alive…real and proactive in all our lives today.”
Trotter’s testimony should inspire Christians to look for the hand of God guiding their lives and will likely be enthusiastically passed to others.

Also available in hardcover and ebook.

Access the review here

Seeing the Light Through Black Death: Salvation in the African Savanna
Laurence W. Trotter II
Trafford, 236 pages
ISBN: 978-1-69870-215-5
$18.33 hardcover
$13.99 paperback
$5.99 e-book
July 19, 2020

A man recounts his long road to spiritual maturity, a journey marked by a gruesome accident, in this memoir.

Trotter had all the worldly trappings of conventional success: wealth and its appurtenances, an accomplished career as an entrepreneur, and a happy family. But he experienced a tedious absence of complete fulfillment, a discontentment he could not comprehensively articulate. In the troubled wake of the author’s divorce, that sense of dissatisfaction intensified, and finally he took the advice of his eldest daughter, Amy, to seek solace and guidance in his Christian faith. Trotter began to read the Bible regularly—he calls it a “central component of my life”—and started to frequent church as well. He even had a mystical experience during a religious retreat, a vision that left him “trembling in awe.” Still, the culminating moment of his spiritual development came in 2012 while he was on a hunting expedition on the plains of South Africa. He was charged and gruesomely mauled by a Cape buffalo, a beast so dangerous it has earned the moniker Black Death. Abrie, the professional hunter leading the safari, subsequently said he saw the author bathed in a column of light and an angel overhead “boxing the horns of the beast.” In his heartfelt book, Trotter, with impressive candor and unabashed emotion, denotes this as his turning point, the event that finalized his utter devotion to God. This lucid story of spiritual enlightenment offers some rich and thought-provoking details that many Christians will find comforting. But ultimately, this is a familiar, even formulaic account of finding God in the detritus of catastrophe. Even the crucial lesson—openness and submission to God and the complete authority of the Bible—won’t surprise believers or persuade skeptics. In addition, the
author writes with a self-confidence that rules out philosophical circumspection: “Why can’t we experience the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth as Jesus asked us to pray in the Lord’s Prayer? The answer is, of course, we can.”

A frank but familiar account of an extensive spiritual odyssey.

Access the review here




Seeing the Light through Black Death: Salvation in the African Savanna
Laurence W. Trotter II
Trafford (Jul 19, 2020)
Softcover $13.99 (236pp)

Seeing the Light through Black Death is a fascinating religious memoir that draws lessons from a life-changing cape buffalo attack.

Laurence W. Trotter II’s memoir Seeing the Light through Black Death draws spiritual lessons from personal events, including a near fatal cape buffalo attack.

Trotter was born in 1954 on a Spokane Air Force base. From an early age, he spent much time outdoors with his father, skiing, hunting, and fishing; he became an accomplished rower through the Boy Scouts. His fascination with the outdoors continued into adulthood; in 2012, it led him to travel to South Africa for an exhilarating hunting trip. There, he was attacked by a buffalo.

The book prefaces the attack with explanations of cape buffalo themselves, covering their physical appearance, behavior, and predators; it discusses trophy hunting, including arguments for and those against the sport, with relevant statistics and references to organizations on both sides of the debate. This informative work results in a broad overview of the circumstances related to Trotter’s attack; it is followed by striking details of the attack, including the speed of the charging bull, and the fact that one member of the hunting team scrambled for his gun in the course of it. Trotter’s sense of fear and desperation during the incident is clear; the grueling, emotional process of treatment and healing that followed, which included multiple surgeries, is also covered.

The book’s sections are thematic; they concentrate on gleaning lessons from Trotter’s experiences, and their messages are easy to identify. For instance, while he’s home and waiting for surgery, Trotter reflects on the three weeks that brought him to this point; he explains the period as a blessing in disguise, one that helped him to realize that there was a reason for his survival. Quotes from the Christian scriptures are shared, too; they are separated from the main text and support Trotter’s takes on topics including love, purpose, compassion, and giving back.

Trotter moves from his own story toward encouraging others to recognize and find comfort in God’s presence during the defining periods of their lives. All of its chapters return to this notion, helping to bind it together, from its reflections on a national championship win in rowing that is attributed to prayer, to Trotter’s daughter’s uplifting recovery from a life-threatening medical condition.

Seeing the Light through Black Death is a fascinating religious memoir that draws lessons from a life-changing cape buffalo attack.

EDITH WAIRIMU (December 11, 2020)