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Posted November 2, 2013
African Dawn is the eighth novel by Australian author, Tony Park, and in it, he revisits the setting and characters of his third novel, African Sky. Park takes three Rhodesian families, the Bryants and the Ngwenyas (who will both be familiar to readers of African Sky) and the Quilter-Phippses, and follows them through the turbulent years from 1959 to 2011.The fate of a rhino calf, Makuti is also monitored. From British colony, through independence to black rule and seizure of white-owned farms, Park tracks events in Rhodesia’s recent history and demonstrates their effect on the human inhabitants, both black and white, and certain endangered animals of the country. Park creates a cast of characters with depth, variety and appeal; their dilemmas and conflicts are realistic and credible; their passions, often fierce. Park manages to make the convoluted history and politics of Rhodesia/Zimbabwe easily digestible by incorporating them into a story that is interesting and exciting. Park’s plot is original, has quite a few twists and encompasses racial tensions, wildlife conservation, political corruption and family dynamics. Murder, kidnapping, imprisonment, poaching and plane crashes all feature. Having skilfully set up his characters and events, Park takes the reader on a rollercoaster ride to the story’s dramatic climax. Park’s Army background, his extensive research and his knowledge of Africa are apparent in every sentence. Another page-turner.
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