Read of the Week

Last Survivor

Tony Park

Pan Macmillan

Review: Karen Watkins

Tony Park is known for thriller novels set in Africa, particularly stories around poaching and hunting.

This plot is different and revolves around a cycad, Encephalartus wooddii, a very rare plant of an ancient species, the only female of its kind left in the world and worth millions of dollars.

You might recall a double cycad heist at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in 2014. Cycads have been around for 300 million years, before dinosaurs, actually possibly eaten by them. Cycads are more rare than rhinos.

Joanne Flack is on the run, suspected of stealing the rare cycad. She is a member of the Pretoria Cycad and Firearms Appreciation Society, a bunch of older, wise characters who have lived life on the edge and have the scars to prove it.

They combine forces to hunt down and protect the cycad while also finding the thief.

Added to the mix is former mercenary Sonja Kurtz, who has been hired by the CIA, and has appeared in other Park thrillers.

The book is akin to watching a Bourne movie on steroids.

The adventure is peppered with details of firearms used in these tense interactions.

Park served 34 years in the Australian Army Reserve.

The story is well-paced and tense with a sense of place and feel for the bush. Park takes us from London to the underworld of Mali and the bush in Zimbabwe.

Last Survivor is the author’s 18th novel and an utterly gripping, high action binge read.

With one foot in his birth country of Australia and the other firmly in South Africa, Park writes with an intimate knowledge and love of nature.

One lucky reader can win a copy of Last Survivor.

To enter, email your name, address and phone number to before midnight on Sunday October 25.

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