I am really thrilled to be a part of the blog tour for this book.
With thanks to Anne Cater and Karen Sullivan of Orenda Books who kindly sent me a copy of this book that I’ve chosen to review.
Fresh from events in Yemen and Cyprus, vigilante justice-seeker Claymore Straker returns to South Africa, seeking absolution for the sins of his past. Over four days, he testifies to Desmond Tutu’s newly established Truth and Reconciliation Commission, recounting the shattering events that led to his dishonourable discharge and exile, fifteen years earlier. It was 1980. The height of the Cold War. Clay is a young paratrooper in the South African Army, fighting in Angola against the Communist insurgency that threatens to topple the White Apartheid regime. On a patrol deep inside Angola, Clay, and his best friend, Eben Barstow, find themselves enmeshed in a tangled conspiracy that threatens everything they have been taught to believe about war, and the sacrifices that they, and their brothers in arms, are expected to make. Witness and unwitting accomplice to an act of shocking brutality, Clay changes allegiance and finds himself labelled a deserter and accused of high treason, setting him on a journey into the dark, twisted heart of institutionalised hatred, from which no one will emerge unscathed. Exploring true events from one of the most hateful chapters in South African history, Reconciliation for the Dead is a shocking, explosive and gripping thriller from one finest writers in contemporary crime fiction.
When I first saw the cover of this book, I did wonder if it were for me. Especially since it was one of the books I was taking on holiday with me. Reminded me of books I’d read years ago when I was more into dark political thrillers than I am now. I’m glad that I did read it and I think that aspects of it will stay with me probably for a long time. At times it was a difficult read but a very powerful one. The book held my interest right from the very first and it was absorbing enough that I read it right through in a few sessions. I learned a lot from the historical facts used as a backdrop to this novel. I can only imagine the amount of research that’s been conducted by the author in order to write such a novel and capture the essence of that time period. Reconciliation for the Dead is the third book in the series featuring lead character Claymore (Clay) Straker, the previous two were set in Yemen then Cyprus. This one is set mostly in South Africa.
Claymore is called to testify before Desmond Tutu’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. about events that happened when he was a new, young army recruit.
*The commission was empowered to grant amnesty to those who committed abuses during the apartheid era, as long as the crimes were politically motivated, proportionate, and there was full disclosure by the person seeking amnesty (*courtesy of Wiki)
I remember the dark times of this period in the history of South Africa, although not first hand. The troubles and racial tensions were hardly off our screens or out of our newspapers, back in the time of course when we had real news reportage.
I am not going to give away any plot spoilers by revealing exactly what takes place within the book. At times it is dark and hard to read, but compelling and unputdownable. I can see it being hailed as the historical thriller of the year or even decade.
Canadian Paul Hardisty has spent 25 years working all over the world as an engineer, hydrologist and environmental scientist. He has roughnecked on oil rigs in Texas, explored for gold in the Arctic, mapped geology in Eastern Turkey (where he was befriended by PKK rebels), and rehabilitated water wells in the wilds of Africa. He was in Ethiopia in 1991 as the Mengistu regime fell, and was bumped from one of the last flights out of Addis Ababa by bureaucrats and their families fleeing the rebels. In 1993 he survived a bomb blast in a café in Sana’a, and was one of the last Westerners out of Yemen before the outbreak of the 1994 civil war. Paul is a university professor and Director of Australia’s national land, water, ecosystems and climate adaptation research programmes. He is a sailor, a private pilot, keen outdoorsman, conservation volunteer, and lives in Western Australia