Previous reviews are at Mack Pitches Up

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Heart of the Hunter by Deon Meyer



I read this on a Kindle and it is a contribution to the 2010 Global Reading Challenge.

Thobela Mpayipheli,a quiet, honest, and dependable "great black man, tall and broad" working as gopher for a BMW motorcycle dealership in Cape town, South Africa. He is devoted to the woman and her son with whom he lives. He also has a past, one he is not ashamed of, but one he has left behind. The daughter of an old comrade comes to him with the story that her father is being held prisoner in Lusaka, Zambia and will be killed if a computer hard drive isn't delivered to his captors. Thobela's sense of honor says that he has to pay a debt but in doing so he risks the secure world he has created. Intelligence agents for the South African government try to intercept him and he is forced on a thousand mile race north pursued by an elite military reaction force anxious to prove itself in action.

Heart of the Hunter is a fast paced and exciting conspiracy chase thriller that put me in a "just one more chapter" state of mind so that I was up until 3am finishing it.

Besides the thrills of a hunt, the book has much more working for it. Thobela appears to be a simple man at first but by the end the reader has looked deep into his soul and seen a complex and conflicted man looking for peace. The author anchors the roots of the plot in the time of The Struggle, the fight against apartheid. When you consider that apartheid ended less than 20 years ago it isn't unlikely that actions that took place then have consequences now.

Heart of the Hunter will entertain but it will also give you a glimpse of what has formed modern day South Africa.

9 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Mack - Thanks for this terrific review. It's making me remember fondly a wonderful trip that I took to South Aftrica for a conference several years ago. It was the trip of a lifetime. Have you read Meyer's Blood Safari ? That was a good one.

Bernadette in Australia said...

So far of Meyer's books I've only read Devil's Peak which also features Thobela (though it comes after this one by the sound of the plot). I thought it was excellent and I am looking to read more of his books

Maxine said...

Great review, Mack- I am definitely looking forward to this one. Perhaps I should read this before I embark on Devil's Peak? (Which I have got on my shelf).

Mack said...

Thanks for the comments everyone. Maxine, I'm compulsive about reading in order so take that into account with my recommendation. I would say to read Heart of the Hunter first. You get Thobela's back story and you see where his relationship with his son Pakamile came from which is important to his actions in Devils Peak.

I had to resist ordering every Deon Meyer book available on Amazon and chose A Carrion Death by Michael Stanley for my next Africa book. It is set in Botswana.

Maxine said...

I didn't resist I am afraid! After reading your post I ordered this and the other one I have not read yet. I have read Dead before Dying (the first translated) and Blood Safari. I hope to fill in the other three before encountering his latest, Thirteen Hours (from memory) - due out in UK quite soon.

I'm just an addict, I have to admit it.

Dorte H said...

I think the characters and the environment sound great, but then conspiracies are not really my cup of tea.

Mack said...

Dorte, there is a conspiracy but I wouldn't say that the conspiracy dominates the story. It may be more of a cover-up story. I really liked Thobela and that is what made the story for me.

Uriah Robinson said...

I have another Deon Meyer, Blood Safari, lined up for Africa part one of the Global Challenge but it sounds as if I will be ordering more.

Jose Ignacio Escribano said...

Quite and interesting review Mack. I'm planning to choose Deon Meyer for my next African book.