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The Rhino Conspiracy

"A powerfully gripping political thriller about rhino poaching and corruption in contemporary South Africa."

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LoveReading Says

LoveReading Says

Written by former Labour MP and leading Anti-Apartheid and Anti-Nazi League campaigner Peter Hain, The Rhino Conspiracy is a true page-turner. A thriller that resonates with conscience, timeliness and deep knowledge of South African politics and wildlife.

The book’s backdrop is a political landscape in which a corrupt South African government has chosen to overlook lucrative rhino poaching. In the words of Mkhize, a young ranger, “It’s war out there. Those bastards have AK-47 assault rifles. They don’t mess about. To get those rhino horns they will murder anybody, destroy anything.” But he recognizes deep complexities too: “Wildlife is seen as something for rich whites, so poachers can be seen as sort of Robin Hoods. Kill a poacher and you can turn these communities against wildlife protection.”

This corruption has led a veteran freedom fighter to break his lifelong ties with the ANC. He wants to bring about change: “The Veteran had a responsibility – no, a duty – to act.” But he needs “help from a younger protégé. Someone to do the legwork, to be out there reporting back to him.” Enter Thandi, a young woman who was “Born Free but not a Born Forget’”. Unlike most of her peers, she knows history, and is inspired by Mandela and his ANC comrades, stirred by their “courage, determination and passionate commitment to democracy, to human rights, to social justice.” Having recently been on safari with Mkhize and struck up a bond with him, they both attend the Veteran’s political event and sign-up to his cause. The work is highly risky, and becomes riskier still as they uncover corruption on an international scale, with multiple individuals embroiled. The narratives move smoothly between different characters and perspectives, making for a tensely enthralling ride.

Passionate and pacey throughout, The Rhino Conspiracy is also underpinned by a vital commentary on the nature of bringing about change. In the words of the Veteran, “Big change never came solely from within the system, but from external force as well.”

Joanne Owen

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