Reconciliation For The Dead by Paul Hardisty
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.
Guest Post- The power of reading:
Recently, I was talking with my sensei, my instructor and mentor in the martial arts. He had just read the second novel in the Claymore Straker series, The Evolution of Fear, and we were discussing a fight scene that occurs early in the book. Clay enters a cottage and is surprised by a knife wielding assailant. As soon as my sensei mentioned it, I was expecting a detailed critique of what I’d done wrong, and how I could have improved the scene. What I got was the opposite. My sensei raved about the scene, said he could see it so clearly in his mind’s eye. When I reread the scene later that day, I realised that I had written it with minimal detail. And yet my sensei had described it back to me so differently, as a fully choreographed sequence. Without realising it, my sensei had taken the simple description I had provided, and subconsciously used all of his experience and knowledge to add a new level of detail. Each strike was perfectly aimed, the hips and core twisting to deliver power, the legs balanced, the combination landing quickly and accurately. And yet, as he described it to me, he thought that it was just part of the book. In his memory, it was what I had written.
To me, this is the powerful difference between reading and watching something on TV or in a movie. When we watch a film, we are given everything, provided every detail. It is a completely passive experience. That’s why it can be so enjoyable, so easy, so relaxing. All the work is done for us. And each viewer’s experience of the film is fundamentally similar. That’s part of the fun. We can relive moments together – ‘do you remember that time where …?’
A book however, is like a lattice: there is much more open space than there is matrix. And our imagination relentlessly fills these voids with our own experience and knowledge, so that once we have read a book, it becomes ours. Each reader’s experience of a particular book is as individual as they themselves are. As soon as a writer offers his work to the public, it ceases to become his. Just as my sensei made that fight scene so much better than it was, every part of a book is there for the reader to shape and customise. What a powerful thing this is. And as a writer, so hugely liberating. The world’s experience and passion is out there, just waiting to imprint itself on and muscle-up the humble skeleton I create, making it much more than I could ever have hoped. For me, it is just one more reason to keep on writing, even in an age where film and TV and video seem to continue to grow in dominance. Reading, it seems to me, is here to stay, an experience that cannot be eclipsed.
via Orenda books:http://orendabooks.co.uk/paul-e-hardisty/