About the Book
It is 1997, eight months since vigilante justice-seeker Claymore Straker fled South Africa after his explosive testimony to Desmond Tutu’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In Paris, Rania LaTour, journalist, comes home to find that her son and her husband, a celebrated human rights lawyer, have disappeared. On an isolated island off the coast of East Africa, the family that Clay has befriended is murdered as he watches.
So begins the fourth instalment in the Claymore Straker series, a breakneck journey through the darkest reaches of the human soul, as Clay and Rania fight to uncover the mystery behind the disappearances and murders, and find those responsible.
Events lead them both inexorably to Egypt, where an act of the most shocking terrorist brutality will reveal not only why those they loved were sacrificed, but how they were both, indirectly, responsible. Relentlessly pursued by those who want them dead, they must work together to uncover the truth, and to find a way to survive in a world gone crazy. At times brutal, often lyrical, but always gripping, Absolution is a thriller that will leave you breathless and questioning the very basis of how we live and why we love.
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.Absolution is the fourth and final book in this series and the third that I have read. After reading this book I would strongly advise that you read them in order.
It takes place in 1997 and the first thing that comes to mind is that in some parts of the world nothing has changed since then. These are areas where people live in horrendous conditions, in fear of disease, terrorism and people in power. I had to keep reminding myself that I was reading a novel that was set twenty years ago.
There are two narrators, Rania’s story is told via a diary. Clay is taking you through events as they happen. Some of their tales overlap and you realise how desperate they are to find and help each other.
At times, I found it a bit confusing, I don’t have much knowledge of either African or Egyptian politics and groups but the writing is so gripping I found it didn’t matter. The author made it all very believable, shocking and at times upsetting.
There are many bad people in the novel but there are also some who stand out for their bravery and kindness. These are the people who I will think about occasionally for a while.
A fascinating conclusion to a great series.
About the Book
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.
Reconciliation For The Dead is the third book in the series to feature Claymore Straker. I have only read the previous book The Evolution of Fear and this book being a prequel goes some way to explaining the reasoning for some of the events that happened there.
In this book, Clay is testifying at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission about events that happened during 1980. Most the book takes place in 1980 but does return to 1996 for updates on Clay’s experience in front of the panel. There is no doubt about it, the scenes described are horrifying and brutal.
I should confess that I found the political aspect of the novel confusing. I was only twelve years old in 1980 and had no idea what was happening outside of my own little world. I have learned since about some of what happened but some of the scenes described were a bit of a shock. Even though it is fiction I felt that much of it was based on fact.
Clay had done things he wasn’t proud of. He was only twenty years old at the time. Much of what he did would have been as the result of direct orders. But he was trying to make amends and it was impossible to dislike him.
On a different note, I enjoyed reading this novel feeling like I could hear the South African accent. Most the words I didn’t know the direct translation for but I didn’t need to use much imagination to work it out.
I found it a great follow up to The Evolution of Fear and would be interested in what happens next.
With thanks to Karen Sullivan for the copy received.
You can buy a copy at Amazon or Waterstones
Claymore Straker is a fugitive with a price on his head. Wanted by the CIA for acts of terrorism he did not commit,
his best friend has just been murdered and Rania, the woman he loves, has disappeared. Betrayed by those
closest to him, he must flee the sanctuary of his safe house in Cornwall and track her down. As his pursuers close
in, Clay follows Rania to Istanbul and then to Cyprus, where he is drawn into a violent struggle between the
Russian mafia, Greek Cypriot extremists, and Turkish developers cashing in on the tourism boom. As the island of
love descends into chaos, and the horrific truth is unveiled, Clay must call on every ounce of skill and endurance to save Rania and put an end to the unimaginable destruction being wrought in the name of profit. Gripping,
exhilarating and, above all, frighteningly realistic, The Evolution of Fear is a startling, eye-‐opening read that
demands the question: How much is truth, and how much is fiction..
The Evolution of Fear is the follow up novel to The Abrupt Physics of Dying. I hadn’t read the first one due to time issues and while I would recommend doing so, I could still follow and enjoy this novel very much.
Claymore goes on the run when he arrives back at the cottage where he has been in hiding to find men who turn out to be killers waiting for him. He knows there is a price on his head and also that the woman he loves, Rania, is also in danger. He has to leave England to try and protect her but can’t leave by the usual means, so starts his journey by sailing to Spain.
I did struggle slightly at first, knowing absolutely nothing about sailing the terminology went way over my head but the thrill and sense of danger more than made up for any confusion. There is violence everywhere, Claymore is wary of making friends with people in case he places them in danger so doesn’t settle easily. But as well as the violence there is also a love story, the storyline that concerns the problems in Cyprus after the war and the turtle conservation there.
I always feel that when you know something about an area where a novel takes place it has more of an impact. I have seen the beauty of the Agamas Peninsula, the quiet beaches, deserted villages and a Nicosia split in two. And the unease at certain points about any atrocities that occurred.
Paul Hardisty does a fantastic job in showing the struggle on both sides and at showing how important wildlife preservation is and how much danger it is in from people who are in power and are obsessed with having more.
I thought all the characters worked well, like Claymore I had no idea who he could trust and got it wrong a few times. There are some good, plenty of bad and just like in real life a few who have done things in their past that they wish they hadn’t.
With thanks to Karen Sullivan for the copy received and the opportunity to take part in the blog tour.