Source: Review Copy
Publication: 30th May 2018 from Orenda Books
It is 1997, eight months since vigilante justice-seeker Claymore Straker fled South Africa after his explosive testimony to Desmond Tutu’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In Paris, Rania LaTour, journalist, comes home to find that her son and her husband, a celebrated human rights lawyer, have disappeared. On an isolated island off the coast of East Africa, the family that Clay has befriended is murdered as he watches.
So begins the fourth instalment in the Claymore Straker series, a breakneck journey through the darkest reaches of the human soul, as Clay and Rania fight to uncover the mystery behind the disappearances and murders, and find those responsible.
Events lead them both inexorably to Egypt, where an act of the most shocking terrorist brutality will reveal not only why those they loved were sacrificed, but how they were both, indirectly, responsible.
Relentlessly pursued by those who want them dead, they must work together to uncover the truth, and to find a way to survive in a world gone crazy. At times brutal, often lyrical, but always gripping, Absolution is a thriller that will leave you breathless and questioning the very basis of how we live and why we love.
As a sweeping generalisation, I have tended to avoid books that are set in war torn countries, mainly because the politics of war, and especially wars fought in the name of religion, are so difficult to understand, and whatever the rights and wrongs, it is ordinary people who suffer.
Yet in Paul E Hardisty’s Claymore Striker series the awful human suffering that terrorist atrocities bring about is at the forefront of his writing as is the role of multi-national business in strife torn countries.
Spanning South Africa, Egypt and the Yemen, Hardisty offers up a thriller that whilst never lacking in pace or action, nevertheless highlights the corruption that governments allow whilst the rich benefit and the poor are exploited in ever more terrible ways.
Hardisty is clearly concerned with ethical issues and he has constructed a very strong narrative and warm, human characters that make this book and its subjects spring into vivid and colourful life.
In Absolution, hardworking practitioners of Muslim religion are shown as warm, loving and compassionate, in contrast to the power and money hungry perpetrators of governmental and corporate greed
One of the reasons I really liked this book is the portraits of strong and independently minded women which permeate its pages.
From Rania, a journalist to the women she meets in her travels, there is a strong sense of seeing the world through women’s eyes that struck a real chord with me and made this a stand out read.
Hardisty’s prose is taut and thrilling, his plot is compelling and the complex strands of the book are all pulled together in a way I did not see coming.
You can feel the warmth that he has for the majority of people trying to live their lives in the extreme and difficult circumstances of civil war and the murkiness of the machinations of those in control are contrasted by the struggle that our protagonist, Clay Striker has to undergo to maintain a sense of morality in an immoral world.
On one level this is a tense and nail-biting thriller with larger than life protagonists who have a chilling tale to tell. On another, this is a book that expresses the horrors and realities of a war torn region in the grip of unscrupulous mad men with no compassion for their own people whose lives they are harming. Yet overall, this is a book about love and compassion in a mad, mad world.
A first class read.
About Paul E. Hardisty
Canadian 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 CEO of the AustralianInstitute of Marine Science (AIMS). He is a sailor, a private pilot, keen outdoorsman,conservation volunteer, and lives in Western Australia.
Follow Paul on Twitter @Hardisty_Paul
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