“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.”
I am thrilled to welcome you to my stop on the Reconciliation for the Dead blog tour today which I share with the lovely Jen over at Jen Med’s Book Reviews. Reconciliation for the Dead is the third book in the Claymore Straker series and is proving to be a hit amongst bloggers and crime reviewers. I have read the second book in this series, The Evolution of Fear and thoroughly enjoyed it.
To celebrate Reconciliation for the Dead‘s release on 30th May I have a cracking guest post from author, Paul E. Hardisty. For those new to Claymore Straker it provides a little more information about the series so far and explains why Paul Hardisty is so well equipped to write on these topics. So without further ado, I’ll hand you over to Paul…
Corruption’s Fearful Reach
Paul E. Hardisty
My career as a hydrologist and environmental engineer has taken me all over the world, and much of my work has taken place in poor, developing countries where basic things like clean water, sanitation, and freedom from religious and political persecution are non-existent, or exist only as rumour. And all too often, the root cause of the poverty and inequity in these places is not a lack of resources, but widespread corruption, not only inside government, but within the institutions responsible for the welfare of society, such as the police, the medical services, local government, regulatory and planning bodies of all kinds, and within poorly-regulated industries. In my work and travels, I have seen first-hand what corruption does to people. It strips wealth from the poorest in society, and accumulates it unrelentingly with the powerful and rich. It drives the plunder of natural resources and destruction of the environment, and it systematically silences those who would speak up to expose it.
My first novel, the CWA John Creasy Dagger award short-listed The Abrupt Physics of Dying, is set in Yemen during the 1994 civil war, in the wake of huge oil discoveries in the east of the country. New found wealth, and the opportunity for plunder, drove widespread corruption and war. Corruption takes many forms, of course, and is certainly not restricted to the developing world. My country of Australia has been scandalised on a regular basis by revelations of corrupt practices in government and industry, each time with regular expressions of shock that ‘it could happen here.’ But wherever it is practiced, corruption always depends on one powerful weapon: fear.
My second novel, The Evolution of Fear, explores how those who seek to manipulate society for their own ends use fear, in all its many forms, to control us, silence us, and even in the extreme, to get us to vote for things that are not in our own best interest. Shakespeare famously wrote: “Our fears do make us traitors.” By using fear, the corrupt forces in society force us to abandon our principles, and betray the things we care about. Faced with a legitimate threat of bodily harm or death over a social issue, few among us would choose to stand and fight. But often, the threats are subtler, more carefully veiled: lose your job, get passed up for that promotion or bonus, suffer public humiliation or bullying or slander. Invariably, whatever form the coercion takes, those that choose to stand up and fight, more often than not, pay the price.
My new novel, Reconciliation for the Dead, (the third novel in the Claymore Straker series), is set in apartheid-era South Africa, during the early 1980’s, a time of institutionalised racism, war, and civil insurrection. As a young soldier in the South African army, fighting the communist insurgency in Angola, Clay comes face to face with a crime so horrific that it changes him forever. Set on a course he cannot change, Clay confronts the deep-seated corruption embedded in the system, and eventually must decide whether to stay and fight, or run, and hope that the information he carries might eventually make a difference.
The Claymore Straker novels are thrillers, which puts them in the “Crime” genre. But the crimes that Clay confronts are legal crimes, and at their root is deep-seated corruption, perpetuated by fear.
Thank you for such an interesting guest post, Paul. I can’t wait to read Reconciliation for the Dead so look out for a review on the blog soon.
Reconciliation for the Dead by Paul E. Hardisty was published in the UK by Orenda Books on 30th May 2017 and is available in paperback and eBook formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |
Canadian by birth, 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 with his family.
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