Heart of the Hunter [NOOK Book]

Overview


Six-foot five-inch Thobela "Tiny" Mpayipheli was once a feared assassin and freedom fighter, trained by the Stasi and KGB. In post-apartheid South Africa, he's happily working in a garage. But Tiny’s quiet domestic life is interrupted by a desperate plea from the daughter of a trusted old friend: he’s being held hostage after taking an incriminating hard drive and needs help. Tiny’s old training kicks in, and as he races across the South African landscape on a stolen BMW motorcycle to the rendezvous point, he is...
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Heart of the Hunter

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Overview


Six-foot five-inch Thobela "Tiny" Mpayipheli was once a feared assassin and freedom fighter, trained by the Stasi and KGB. In post-apartheid South Africa, he's happily working in a garage. But Tiny’s quiet domestic life is interrupted by a desperate plea from the daughter of a trusted old friend: he’s being held hostage after taking an incriminating hard drive and needs help. Tiny’s old training kicks in, and as he races across the South African landscape on a stolen BMW motorcycle to the rendezvous point, he is pursued by several interested and hostile forces, including South Africa’s Presidential Intelligence Unit. None of them have a clue what they’re up against.

With his books published in twenty languages, the critically acclaimed Deon Meyer has won a reputation as one of the best thriller writers in the world. Heart of the Hunter is an epic adventure across the landscape and history of a remarkable country.
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Editorial Reviews

Patrick Anderson
Heart of the Hunter is most obviously a rip-roaring adventure, a portrait of spy-world duplicity and a look at South Africa's post-apartheid politics. But this thriller is also an ambitious attempt to create a mythic hero. Thobela works admirably as a character, but ultimately he is a symbol of all that is strong and long-suffering in Africa and Africans. Meyer is trying to show us the soul of a continent, and to a considerable degree he succeeds.
The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
A hulking black motorcycle-shop janitor named Tiny is the unlikely hero of this frantic, intelligent thriller by a South African crime writer. Tiny (aka Thobela Mpayipheli aka Umzingeli, the Hunter) is a former KGB-trained assassin who plied his trade in service of the struggle against apartheid. He is now a peace-loving family man, but when a plea for help comes from the daughter of an old friend, he is forced to race across the country on a motorcycle to deliver a coveted disk, chased by a homicidal special forces commander. His fear of revisiting the violence of his past feels real-the sincere hesitation of a dark-skinned man in a country where violent acts multiply like viruses, especially where black blood is involved. "His hands so terribly ready to kill, his brain clattering out the knowledge of the vital points on the soldier's body like machine gun fire, despairing, don't, don't, don't..." In other ways, this is a standard thriller complete with CIA involvement, an appearance by Muslim extremists and a loose, rat-a-tat prose that keeps pages turning. The central plot twist is predictable and too few of the many story lines are resolved, but the freshness of the context and the emotional complexity of the hero's journey are ample compensation for readers who want a more thought-provoking spy story. Agent, Isobel Dixon. (July) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Thobela Mpayipheli, a descendant of Xhosa kings, has a past he would like to forget. A former assassin, he has settled down with a woman and her son in Cape Town. Then the daughter of an old friend comes to him for help: her father has been abducted in Lusaka, Zambia. In exchange for his life, the kidnappers want a computer disc that reveals the names of double agents and the identity of a mole in the upper echelons of the South African government-and they want it delivered to them within 72 hours. Thwarted in his attempt to fly out of the country, Thobela hops on a BMW motorcycle, and the chase is on. Will he be able to save his friend? Will the mole keep his or her identity a secret? Will Thobela, now the prey, ruin what he has tried to become-a man of peace by reverting to the instincts of the hunter he was trained to be? Not all these questions have happy answers. Despite the complexity of its tightly woven plot-skillfully revealed through newspaper articles and intelligence reports-Meyer's U.S. debut moves at a breathtaking pace that will carry readers away. A sympathetic protagonist and the landscape of South Africa add color to the story. Highly recommended for all public libraries. [Meyer is the 2003 winner of Le Grand Prix de litterature policiere, France's most prestigious prize for suspense fiction.-Ed.]-Ronnie H. Terpening, Univ. of Arizona, Tucson Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Out of post-apartheid South Africa comes a thriller good enough to and nip at the heels of le Carre. Thobela Mpayipheli is six-foot-three, a giant of a man so (naturally) they call him "Tiny." During the Struggle, he was an ANC (African National Congress) hero, a ferocious and decorated fighter. But that was then: Tiny's now is Miriam Nzuluwazi, the "tall, lean, strong and beautiful woman" who kisses him each night when he arrives home from his low-level, low-profile job in Cape Town. Miriam, her small son, their small house, that's Tiny modest life-and it's a life he loves. But the advent of a perfectly ordinary woman named Monica Kleintjes sends it crashing. Monica is the daughter of old comrade Johnny Kleintjes, who is in serious trouble, and to whom Tiny owes a debt of honor. If he fails to deliver a certain information-packed disk to a certain blood-thirsty band of terrorists, Johnny's a dead man, Monica tells him, handing him the disk. Tiny, a closet Romantic, as perhaps all great warriors are at their core, believes he has no choice but to accept the mission. Naturally, the disk turns out to be eagerly sought by a variety of inimical entities: among them, the CIA, al Qaeda, and the still fledgling South African government. As he zigzags through Africa on a stolen motorcycle, Tiny, now an object of intense and frequently murderous interest, tries, for the sake of survival, to sort out the conflicting realities governing his situation. He discovers, however, that like the desperate ex-hero on the BMW bike, "the truth is a moving target."Wonderful setting; rich, colorful cast, headed by a valiant/vulnerable protagonist who makes empathy easy. Impossibly convoluted, of course-hey, it'sa suspense novel-but fans of the genre won't want to miss Meyer's US debut. Agent: Isobel Dixon/Blake Friedmann
Chicago Tribune
Heart of the Hunter is the dark, explosive side of Alexander McCall Smith’s Botswana books, as full of love for the vast beauty of the country but also riddled by the anger of South Africa’s recent racial and political struggles.”
Chicago Tribune
Booklist
“[Vance’s] performance feels spontaneous, off the cuff, and fresh. The gripping story . . . is a mesmerizing listen, thanks to Vance’s precise reading.”
Booklist
From the Publisher
Heart of the Hunter is the dark, explosive side of Alexander McCall Smith’s Botswana books, as full of love for the vast beauty of the country but also riddled by the anger of South Africa’s recent racial and political struggles.”
Chicago Tribune

“A stellar performance. . . . Deon Meyer’s well-turned story and Vance’s top-notch narration make this a compelling listen.”
AudioFile

“[Vance’s] performance feels spontaneous, off the cuff, and fresh. The gripping story . . . is a mesmerizing listen, thanks to Vance’s precise reading.”
Booklist

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802194657
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/6/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 382,153
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

DEON MEYER lives in Durbanville in South Africa with his wife and four children. Other than his family, Deon’s big passions are motorcycling, music, reading, cooking and rugby. In January 2008 he retired from his day job as a consultant on brand strategy for BMW Motorrad, and is now a full time author. Deon Meyer’s books have attracted worldwide critical acclaim and a growing international fanbase. Originally written in Afrikaans, they have now been translated into several languages, including English, French, German, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Russian, Finnish, Czech, Romanian, Slovakian, Bulgarian, Japanese and Polish.

SIMON VANCE is a prolific and popular audiobook narrator and actor with several hundred audiobooks to his credit. An Audie® Award-winner, Vance was recently named "The Voice of Choice" by Booklist magazine.

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Read an Excerpt

Heart of the Hunter


By Deon Meyer

Little, Brown

Copyright © 2003 Deon Meyer
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-316-93549-2


Chapter One

1984

He stood behind the American. Almost pressed against him by the crush of Le Metro. His soul was far away at a place on the Transkei coast where giant waves broke in thunder.

He thought of the rocky point where he could sit and watch the swells approaching in lines over the Indian Ocean, in awe at their journey over the long, lonely distance to hurl and break themselves against the rocks of the Dark Continent.

Between the sets of waves there is a time of perfect silence, seconds of absolute calm. So quiet he can hear the voices of his ancestors-Phalo and Rharhabe, Nquika and Maqoma, the great Xhosa chiefs, his bloodline, source, and refuge. He knew that is where he would go when his time came, when he felt the long blade and the life run out of him. He would return to those moments between the explosions of sound.

He came back to himself slowly, almost carefully. He saw they were only minutes from the St. Michel Metro station. He leaned down, only half a head, to the ear of the American. His lips were close like a lover.

"Do you know where you are going when you die?" he asked in a voice as deep as a cello, the English heavy with an accent of Africa.

The tendons in the back of the enemy's neck pulled taut, big shoulders tilted forward.

He waited calmly for the man to turn in the overfilled crush of the train. He waited to see the eyes. This is the moment he thirsted for. Confrontation, throwing down the gauntlet. This was his calling, instinctive, fulfilling him. He was a warrior from the plains of Africa, every sinew and muscle knit and woven for this moment. His heart began to race, the sap of war coursed through his blood, he was possessed by the divine madness of battle.

The body turned first, unhurried, then the head, then the eyes. He saw a hawk there, a predator without fear, self-assured, amused even, the corners of the thin lips lifting. Centimeters apart, it was a strange intimacy.

"Do you know?" Just the eyes staring back.

"Because soon you will be there, Dorffling." He used the name contemptuously, the final declaration of war that said he knew his enemy, the assignment accepted, the dossier studied and committed to memory.

He saw no reaction in the lazy eyes. The train slowed and stopped at St. Michel. "This is our station," he said. The American nodded and went, with him just a step behind, up the stairs into the summer night bustle of the Latin Quarter. Then Dorffling took off. Along the Boulevard San Michel toward the Sorbonne. He knew prey chooses familiar territory. Dorffling's den was there, just around the corner from the Place du Pantheon, his arsenal of blades and garottes and firearms. But he hadn't expected flight, thought the ego would be too big. His respect deepened for the ex-Marine, now CIA assassin.

His body had reacted instinctively: the dammed-up adrenaline exploding, long legs powering the big body forward rhythmically, ten, twelve strides behind the fugitive. Parisian heads turned. White man pursued by black man. An atavistic fear flared in their eyes.

The American spun off into the Rue des Ecoles, right into the Rue St. Jaques, and now they were in the alleys of the university, barren in the August of student holidays, the age-old buildings somber onlookers, the night shadows deep. With long, sure strides he caught up with Dorffling, shouldered him. The American fell silently to the pavement, rolled forward, and stood up in one sinuous movement, ready.

He reached over his shoulder for the assegai in the scabbard that lay snug against his back. Short handle, long blade.

"Mayibuye," he said softly. "What fucking language is that, nigger?" Hoarse voice without inflection.

"Xhosa," he said, the click of his tongue echoing sharply off the alley walls. Dorffling moved with confidence, a lifetime of practice in every shift of the feet. Watching, measuring, testing, round and round, the diminishing circles of a rhythmic death dance. Attack, immeasurably fast and before the knee could drive into his belly, his arm was around the American's neck and the long thin blade through the breastbone. He held him close against his own body as the light blue eyes stared into his.

"Uhm-sing-gelli," said the Marine.

"Umzingeli." He nodded, correcting the pronunciation softly, politely. With respect for the process, for the absence of pleading, for the quiet acceptance of death. He saw the life fade from the eyes, the heartbeat slowing, the breaths jerky, then still. He lowered the body, felt the big, hard muscles of the back soften, laid him gently down.

"Where are you going? Do you know?" He wiped the assegai on the man's T-shirt. Slid it slowly back into the scabbard.

Then he turned away.

MARCH

I.

Transcript of interview with Ismail Mohammed by A. J. M. Williams, 17 March, 17:52, South African Police Services offices, Gardens, Cape Town

W: You wanted to talk to someone from Intelligence?

M: Are you?

W: I am, Mr. Mohammed.

M: How do I know that?

W: You take my word for it.

M: That's not good enough.

W: What would be good enough for you, Mr Mohammed?

M: Have you got identification?

W: You can check this out if you want to.

M: Department of Defence?

W: Mr. Mohammed, I represent the State Intelligence Service.

M: NIA?

W: No.

M: Secret Service.

W: No.

M: What then?

W: The one that matters.

M: Military Intelligence?

W: There seems to be some misunderstanding, Mr. Mohammed. The message I got was that you are in trouble and you want to improve your position by providing certain information. Is that correct?

[Inaudible.]

W: Mr. Mohammed?

M: Yes?

W: Is that correct?

M: Yes.

W: You told the police you would give the information only to someone from the intelligence services?

M: Yes.

W: Well, this is your chance.

M: How do I know they are not listening to us?

W: According to the Criminal Procedures Act, the police must advise you before they may make a recording of an interview.

M: Ha!

W: Mr. Mohammed, do you have something to tell me?

M: I want immunity.

W: Oh?

M: And guaranteed confidentiality.

W: You don't want Pagad to know you've been talking?

M: I am not a member of Pagad.

W: Are you a member of Muslims Against Illegitimate Leaders?

M: Illegal Leaders.

W: Are you a member of MAIL?

M: I want immunity.

W: Are you a member of Qibla?

[Inaudible]

W: I can try to negotiate on your behalf, Mr. Mohammed, but there can be no guarantees. I understand the case against you is airtight. If your information is worth anything, I can't promise you more than that I do my best....

M: I want a guarantee.

W: Then we must say good-bye, Mr. Mohammed. Good luck in court.

M: Just give me -

W: I'm calling the detectives.

M: Wait -

W: Good-bye, Mr. Mohammed.

M: Inkululeko.

W: Sorry?

M: Inkululeko.

W: Inkululeko?

M: He exists.

W: I don't know what you're talking about.

M: Then why are you sitting down again?

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Heart of the Hunter by Deon Meyer Copyright © 2003 by Deon Meyer. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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  • Posted April 5, 2012

    A MUST READ for those who like Thrillers

    Incredibly well done. It was one of those rare books that made me want to read it through in one sitting. As is the case with all of Deon Meyer's books, the characters are realistic, the circumstances believable.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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