John Maytham's Book Reviews: Killers, poets, public servants and ingrates

Shadow Kill by Chris Ryan

Original Strikeback hero John Porter is here united with SAS antihero John Bald on a mission to Africa. Held up by rebel forces in a brutal siege, John Porter is tested to the limit in the African jungle.

Strikeback hero John Porter is sent on a mission with Regimental scallywag John Bald. Where Porter plays it by the book, Bald will always want to break the rules.

They are sent to Sierra Leone to extract Ronald Soames, a former CO of the Regiment and now right-hand man to the President. But when Porter and Bald arrive the Englishman has disappeared, leaving a trail of destruction in his wake. Porter and Bald find themselves fighting shoulder to shoulder with the Regiment psychopath who is already embedded in the country.

But it soon becomes clear that the Firm has lied to them about the true nature of the mission. What seems at first to be a battle to control Sierra Leone's diamond mines will turn out to about a much greater evil - and with a trail that leads back to both Westminster and the Kremlin.

Larchfield by Polly Clark

It's early summer when a young poet, Dora Fielding, moves to Helensburgh on the west coast of Scotland and her hopes are first challenged. Newly married, pregnant, she's excited by the prospect of a life that combines family and creativity.

She thinks she knows what being a person, a wife, a mother, means. She is soon shown that she is wrong. As the battle begins for her very sense of self, Dora comes to find the realities of small town life suffocating, and, eventually, terrifying; until she finds a way to escape reality altogether.

Another poet, she discovers, lived in Helensburgh once. Wystan H. Auden, brilliant and awkward at 24, with his first book of poetry published, should be embarking on success and society in London.

Instead, in 1930, fleeing a broken engagement, he takes a teaching post at Larchfield School for boys where he is mocked for his Englishness and suspected - rightly - of homosexuality. Yet in this repressed limbo Wystan will fall in love for the first time, even as he fights his deepest fears.

The Republic Of Gupta - A Story Of State Capture by Pieter-Louis Myburgh

The Guptas, arguably South Africa’s most infamous family, have dominated news headlines for many years. But the landing of a commercial airliner packed with wedding guests at Air Force Base Waterkloof in 2013 sparked the most severe onslaught of public outrage the politically connected family had endured up to that fateful day.

Since then, they have become embroiled in allegations of state capture, of dishing out cabinet posts to officials who would do their bidding, and of benefiting from lucrative state contracts and dubious loans.

No Longer Whispering To Power - The Story Of Thuli Madonsela by Thandeka Gqubule

Advocate Thuli Madonsela has achieved in her seven years as Public Protector what few accomplish in a lifetime; her legacy and contribution cannot be overstated.

In her final days in office, she compiled the explosive State Capture report and, before that, the report on President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla residence.

Praised and vilified in equal measures, Madonsela has frequently found herself at centre stage in the increasingly fractious South African political scene. No Longer Whispering To Power is about Thuli Madonsela’s tenure as Public Protector, during which the whisper grew into a cry.

It is the story of the South African people’s attempt to hold power to account through the Office of the Public Protector. More significantly, this important book stands as a record of the crucial work Madonsela has done, always acting without fear or favour.

Read More
Hanekom: ANC must be clear on its definition of 'ill-discipline'

Hanekom: ANC must be clear on its definition of 'ill-discipline'

ANC MP and former minister Derek Hanekom reflected on the state of the governing party and the 34th anniversary of the UDF.

[Watch] John Maytham shuts down victim shamer on air

[Watch] John Maytham shuts down victim shamer on air

A caller wanted to know what the alleged victim had done in order for Grace Mugabe to assault her.

Afriforum's Gerrie Nel gives the NPA three months to prosecute Grace Mugabe

Afriforum's Gerrie Nel gives the NPA three months to prosecute Grace Mugabe

AfriForum and its independent prosecution unit will be getting involved in the case of alleged assault of Gabriella Engels.

City of Cape turns to groundwater to try curb its water crisis

City of Cape turns to groundwater to try curb its water crisis

Four areas identified for ground water extraction namely; Silwerstroomstrand, Cape Flats, Cape Peninsula and Hottentots Holland.

The sungazer lizard is under threat of extinction

The sungazer lizard is under threat of extinction

Shivan Parusnath, PhD student at Wits University says the lizards are under threat because there are far too many people.

CoCT 'Water Resilience Plan' to produce 500 million litres of water per day

CoCT 'Water Resilience Plan' to produce 500 million litres of water per day

City of Cape Town Mayor, Patricia de Lille held a media briefing to share the City’s 'Water Resilience Plan' on Thursday.

Popular articles
It's not the end of the road... Top tips to improve your matric

It's not the end of the road... Top tips to improve your matric

"Recognise that it’s not the end, it’s the beginning." Expert advise for school-leavers who want to improve their results.

Pamela Nomvete on her downfalls as actress, and 'climbing back'

Pamela Nomvete on her downfalls as actress, and 'climbing back'

This week Xolani Gwala's speaks to former Generations actor Pamela Nomvete for #WhatInTheWorldHappenedTo feature.

Who is Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi?

Who is Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi?

The EFF lawyer stole the show during the state capture report court battle.

Meet the founder of Capitec Bank, named ‘Best Bank on Earth and Cheapest in SA’

Meet the founder of Capitec Bank, named ‘Best Bank on Earth and Cheapest in SA’

Michiel le Roux speaks about the fascinating story behind the little bank that has the Big 4 shaking in their boots.

Best way to get richer (especially if you’re between ages 20 and 45)

Best way to get richer (especially if you’re between ages 20 and 45)

Still young(ish)? Consider the single best thing you can do to increase your wealth by much more than the inflation rate.

3 easy questions could bag you R2000!

3 easy questions could bag you R2000!

WIN R2000! But only if you can prove you're a whiz of the MTN Biz Quiz by answering the following three questions...

Blesserfinder: Matching you with a sugar daddy near you

Blesserfinder: Matching you with a sugar daddy near you

Is social trend Blesserfinder, where girls are allegedly matching up with rich 'benefactors' in exchange for sex, a real thing?

5 ways the NSFAS funding model will change in 2017

5 ways the NSFAS funding model will change in 2017

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) will pilot a new funding model in 2017. NSFAS chairperson Sizwe Nxasana explains.