Patrick Flanery, Riverhead, $27

This novel by is set in South Africa, as a writer researches material for the biography of an acclaimed author.

The woman is well-known, yet hidden behind the veiled secrecy of an era fraught with suspicion, distrust, threat of reprisal and unexpected physical danger.

It is the story of a people living daily with extreme precautions to ensure personal safety. She acknowledges her “retreat of a champion of open society into a fortress of personal security”.

No-one knows who can be trusted or where the next threat will materialise.

Another story begins to emerge of a young woman; idealistic and uncompromising in her struggle against all that is wrong in society, and about her care for a young boy left an orphan, who has witnessed and participated in things which no child should ever see.

It is fascinating to look for the truth behind the fiction, only to find it continually eludes you.

John Atkinson


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