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17 November 2013

Tony Park: Ivory

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An exciting African adventure
Tony Park writes great adventure stories. What makes them special is that they are set in Africa, a continent that this Australian writer has come to know and love. This is one of his early works which I enjoyed revisiting again.

Alex Tremain was born in Mozambique in Southern Africa and the family ran a luxury hotel on a beautiful island just off the coast in Mozambique. When civil war came to the country the hotel was ransacked by the rebels and the locals. Alex went off to war and joined the South African army. When peace returned Alex vowed to rebuild the hotel into a luxury resort again - but the main problem was money. So Alex and some friends become pirates, ambushing ships on the high seas and stealing building materials or goods that could be sold easily.

Jane Humphries is a successful corporate lawyer with a large UK shipping company who is having an affair with her married boss, George Penfold, who promises her that he will leave his wife. Jane is scared stiff of flying and George arranges for her to go to an important meeting in Cape Town by sea on his flagship container ship, MV Penfold Son. En route the ship picks up a mysterious group of security people who act like mercenaries. By chance while Alex and his crew are tracking a Chinese ship they witness a rendezvous with Penfold Son where a mysterious package changes hands. When Alex boards the Penfold Son to find the package they are met with strong opposition from security. The Captain hands the package to Jane and tells her to guard it with her life. She hides in a the ship's lifeboat and is joined by Alex and his team as they escape from the ship.

After recovering from becoming unconscious after a dangerous lifeboat launch, Jane has to come to grips with the fact that her charming and handsome host at the partly restored hotel is a notorious pirate. She also has to come to grips with the fact that her charming boss is sending his vicious security team to find her and the mysterious package. At the same time she becomes increasingly attracted to Alex.

Meanwhile Alex still needs more money to complete the hotel restoration and does a deal with an unscrupulous Chinese to steal a huge amount of legally culled ivory from under the noses of the South African military.

Sounds complex doesn't it? Yes it is very complex and a bit overboard (forgive the potentially maritime pun) but as long as you don't take it too seriously it is an exciting, page-turning adventure set against the interesting wildlife background of Southern Africa.

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