Book review: The Pride

The Pride

Tony Park

Pan Macmillan

Review: Wayne van der Vent

Fiction is a bit like beauty, it lies in the eye of the beholder. With 19 African novels notched on his belt, many seem to enjoy Tony Park’s idea of beauty.

The storyline involves his female protagonist, Sonja Kurtz, and over the years, followers of Tony Park have come to know her well.

Sonja is an ex-mercenary out for revenge after her daughter Emma is assaulted by an abalone poacher while on a beach holiday near Cape Town.

When the poacher is murdered, Sonja is targeted by a local gangster. She and Emma must flee the country.

Sonja leaves a wake of destruction as she moves from Mozambique to Zimbabwe and brings the story to a close back in Cape Town.

A concerned Emma must find the courage to rescue her mother, at great risk to life and limb. Is Sonja a cold-blooded killer or just a lioness willing to kill to protect her own?

Park has found a winning formula and has stuck to it.

In this post-Covid setting, he touches on themes close to South African and Capetonian hearts.

Abalone poaching, drug trafficking and the inevitable gang involvement, taking us from the treacherous beaches of northern Mozambique to the threatened wilderness of Zimbabwe.

And it is always exciting to have a female as the hero, especially in an actioned-packed adventure; one who can trade blows with every other villain, and win.

If you are a Park fan, you will have read how Sonja Kurtz’s character has evolved and the reader gets to understand her better with each novel.

Park is a good storyteller, keeping you on the edge of your seat, and introducing unexpected twists and turns, while constantly keeping you rooted in Africa.

Deon Meyer, one of the best contemporary South African adventure novelists, says “Tony Park is a master storyteller. I love his work.”

If you are looking for an adventure-filled, adrenaline read, then I suggest you consider Meyer’s assessment.