Vendetta by Tony Park

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke

In his twenty-first novel, Vendetta, Tony Park has once again taken his reader to South Africa and specifically in this story, to the South African apartheid-era Border War. The book includes two storylines, 1987 in Angola and the present in South Africa and Namibia.

In the current storyline, middle-aged veteran of the Angolan war, Adam Kruger, is working part-time in a car park for a local mall when he thwarts a robbery with violence. This news item will trigger actions which will put people in danger and bring unwanted actions from the past to light.

When Adam hears of the suicide death of a fellow soldier from his time in Angola, he wants to pay his respects but is uneasy about seeing other former comrades.  Adam forms a friendship with detective Captain Sannie van Rensburg and later they travel across South Africa to the Kalahari Desert and one of the most expensive luxury game lodges in South Africa, Dune Lodge.

Readers of previous books by this author will have met this detective before as well as the safari guide Mia Greenaway who is her friend.  As the present-day story continues, the reader becomes privy to what occurred back in 1987 and how it has affected the relationship between those involved and their lives since that time. There is much to be revealed about that time especially as two of their group appear to have taken their own lives long after those events took place.

The writer skilfully provides this information from the perspective of the individuals involved so that the reader does not know who to believe or who is the villain.  This story highlights the reality of war, no matter where it takes place, and the thin line between actions of heroism and heinous crimes or behaviours that might make a difference to personal image in the present.

There is so much packed into this story, especially the second half of the book, making it hard for readers to keep track of the many characters and their inter-relationships. The title of the book is Vendetta, and throughout the story I was confused as to who or what this actually referred to. It was obvious that it linked back to whatever occurred during the time of war, but who was perpetrating the vendetta and why, was not revealed until right at the end.

During this story the reader learns about some of Africa’s history, especially the Border War as well as the role of the San soldiers who fought for the old South African Defence Force and their plight since that time. They also hear about the illegal trade in shark fins and diamond smuggling in Africa. This story brings to the fore the issue of PTSD and suicide as a result of past traumatic events.

I found this to be an interesting read with lots of action in a unique location. The characters were complex and diverse.

Tony Park grew up in the western suburbs of Sydney and has worked as a newspaper reporter and writer. He served thirty-four years in the Australian Army Reserve and he and his wife divide their time between Australia and southern Africa. This book, Vendetta, is typical of his style of writing, full of action and interesting personalities.



by Tony Park

Pan Macmillan


$34.99; 384pp

vendetta /vɛnˈdɛtə/


a blood feud in which the family of a murdered person seeks vengeance on the murderer or the murderer’s family.

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