Captain Sannie van Rensburg and safari guide Mia Greenaway are caught in the crossfires of a decades-old feud between five veterans of South Africa's apartheid-era Border War.
Haunted by the deadly mission that shaped their lives forever, the ex-paratroopers must finally confront their demons, and each other, at the funeral of a comrade in the red dunes of the Kalahari Desert.
But their scars run deep, and as the truth emerges, each man must ask himself: When serving your country, what makes you a hero and what secrets are worth killing for?
"Tony Park is a master story teller, I love his work."
Covid disrupted life for people around the world, including my wife and me. We were able to escape Australia during the lockdowns and moved to our other home, in South Africa. Instead of just spending half the year in South Africa and half in Australia, our roots in Africa grew deeper and we bought a second house, on the beach on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast.
Ideas for novels come from all sorts of places and people. Sitting on the beach, I was reminded of a conversation I had a few years ago with one of my readers, a professor of marine biology, who told me about the horrific practice of shark finning.
Shark fin is prized as a delicacy in parts of Asia and this hunger feeds a legal and illegal trade in shark fin. Basically, if a fisherman at sea catches a shark and brings the whole shark back to shore then they can sell the fin. Unfortunately, unscrupulous fishermen will catch a shark, cut off its fin – sometimes while it's still alive – and then keep the fin but dump the rest of the shark at sea. Shark flesh is not worth nearly as much as the fin, so the fisherman fills their boat with fins and leaves the sharks to die.
'Vendetta' begins with down-on-his luck researcher and PhD candidate Adam Kruger living a frugal life on the KZN South Coast while researching sharks – and running foul of a crooked fisherman.
The book sees the return of one of my favourite characters, Detective Captain Sannie van Rensburg of the South African Police Service. Sannie has moved to the coast to start her life again after a recent tragedy. She meets Adam and by coincidence the pair end up travelling across South Africa a long way from the beach, to the Kalahari Desert and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.
In the Kalahari, Sannie meets up with safari guide Mia Greenaway, who we (and Sannie) first met in Sannie's last adventure, 'Blood Trail'.
I love the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and have wanted to set a book in this part of South Africa for some time. It also gave me the opportunity to research and write about the fascinating culture of the San people.
At the time of writing and releasing 'Vendetta' South Africa is experiencing a particularly rocky period in terms of its political and economic situation and I wanted to capture some of that in 'Vendetta' as well.
Several readers over the years have suggested I write something based on South Africa's involvement in the Border War, in South West Africa (now Namibia) and Angola. That gave rise to the storyline about Adam and the other veterans of that conflict, and what happened to them in Angola. It also allowed me to examine role of San soldiers who fought for the old South African Defence Force, and their plight since the end of the war.
I hope you enjoy Vendetta, and Sannie and Adam's journey from the warm blue waters of the Indian Ocean to the red dunes of the Kalahari.