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18 May 2015

Adrian McKinty: The Sun is God

An unusual but gripping story by Adrian McKinty
I normally expect Adrian McKinty's stories to be thrillers set in Northern Ireland and was surprised to find that this story was set in German New Guinea, near modern-day Rabaul, in the early 1900's. It featured a strange cult group of mostly German nudist sun worshipers. To make it even stranger they only ate coconuts and bananas (because they grew at the top of trees so were closer to the sun) and sunbathed their days away in a stupor after drinking a cocktail of coconut milk and powdered heroin at breakfast.

Will Prior, a former British military policeman, has retired to German New Guinea after a traumatic incident keeping control of a South African concentration camp. His new found tranquility is disturbed when the German authorities recruit him to investigate the death of one of the cult members, Max Lutzow, on the remote island of Kabakon. The cult members insist that he died from malaria but an autopsy suggests that the death was from other causes.

Prior, a German officer and a middle-aged single Englishwoman, visit the island to investigate. They are immediately thrust into the middle of the cult's day-to-day life and diet (including the coconut cocktail), meeting with constant denials of any wrongdoing in Lutzow's death. Eventually when Prior starts to flush out the truth things get pretty tense.

This was the first audio book that I have listened to and I enjoyed the experience during my morning walks and car journeys.  If I had read the book I think that I might have given up because it was not what I expected from McKinty. The narrator, Gerald Doyle, did a great job in turning what could have been a fairly unexciting story into something pretty absorbing.

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